India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy final, The Oval June 16, 2017

FAQs: The India-Pakistan final

ESPNcricinfo staff
What you need to know about what is set to be one of the most watched cricket matches of all time

India-Pakistan matches are among the most watched events in sport © AFP

What's the big deal about this final?
The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense in all of sport. There is a history of conflict between the two countries, and the cricket rivalry, which stems from the political one, has its own eventful past. With cricket being the most popular sport in both nations, when India and Pakistan play each other in important games, the television audience is often close to one billion - 988 million viewers were estimated to have watched their clash in the 2011 World Cup semi-final.

So what, where, and when is it?
India and Pakistan will meet in the final of the Champions Trophy, a major global cricket tournament, on Sunday, June 18. The match is being played at The Oval cricket ground in London and will begin at 10:30 local time (9:30 GMT, 15:00 Indian Standard Time and 15:30 Pakistan Standard Time).

Is this a rare event? This is the first major final between India and Pakistan since 2007, when India beat Pakistan in the World T20 tournament. The hype around this game is also magnified by a paucity of matches between the two teams in the past 10 years, a result of political tensions.

What is the origin of the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry?
Before 1947, the regions now known as India and Pakistan were both part of British India. When British rule in India ended, two separate countries - India and Pakistan - were created principally along religious lines, and many people were killed as millions moved home in an attempt to live in the country where they would be part of the religious majority. Since then, India and Pakistan have fought four official wars and have been involved in other conflicts.

So the cricket rivalry is an extension of the political conflict?
While political tension was certainly the origin of the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry, it has, over the years, forged a history of its own. There have been several periods during which the teams have been evenly matched, leading to hard-fought matches, close series and exciting moments.

What is the attitude of the fans towards each other?
While there are India and Pakistan fans who feel animosity towards the other team, there are many who have tremendous respect for the opposition. This is evidenced by the popularity of several Pakistan cricketers in India, and Indian cricketers in Pakistan. Some might even say that at times cricket has helped people from both countries transcend the political climate, communicate with each other, and appreciate the many cultural similarities they share. Cricket tournaments have sometimes been thought of as part of the attempts by the countries to make peace with each other.

Part of the history of this rivalry are many tales of people treating those coming from across the border for a cricket series with warmth and hospitality, incidents of fans applauding opposition players at stadiums and of players making respectful gestures to their rivals. Recently, for example, when the famous Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi retired, the entire India team signed a T-shirt and sent it to him as a gift.

In this decade, India have the edge in the rivalry © Getty Images

Who has the upper hand historically?
While in recent times India have been the stronger team, historically Pakistan still have the edge. In one-day cricket, which is the format being played in the Champions Trophy, Pakistan have won 72 matches to India's 52. In the late 1980s, Pakistan dominated India, and while the sides were more evenly matched in the 1990s and early 2000s, Pakistan still won more games. Since 2007, there has been a shift in momentum towards India.

So who are the favourites for this game?
India start as favourites, because they have been one of the most successful teams over the past seven years in cricket. Pakistan were underdogs in this tournament and have surprised people by making the final. Also, India have a 13-2 record against Pakistan in global tournaments. They beat Pakistan by a big margin earlier in this Champions Trophy.

Is the Champions Trophy an important tournament?
While the premier tournament in one-day cricket is the World Cup, the Champions Trophy is the second most prestigious because it features the top eight teams in the world. It is held every four years; this is the eighth edition.

What is special about the venue for the final?
The Oval cricket ground is where the first Test match in England was played, in 1880. The final being in London also means that many Indians and Pakistanis who live there will attend the game.

Who are the players to watch in the final?
Virat Kohli, the captain of India, is considered by most to be the best batsman in one-day cricket. He is also, arguably, the most famous cricketer in the world - he has 15.8 million followers on Twitter. Pakistan does not have many established stars, but there are exciting young talents. Hasan Ali, a 23-year-old fast bowler, has been one of the players of this tournament.

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  • cricfan6575274021 on June 18, 2017, 9:25 GMT

    bad selection by Pakistan. Imad and Shahdab should be replace by Fahim and Roman Ashraf

  • rosh000 on June 18, 2017, 9:25 GMT

    Unfortunately, for the umpteenth time, the toss will have its say unless there is grass on the wicket.

  •   Saad Ramay on June 18, 2017, 4:23 GMT

    Hoping for a good match, not look earlier one

  • YaAliMadad on June 17, 2017, 23:29 GMT

    WPBUS13 - just goes to show history is on Pakistan's side!

  • Dhawala05 on June 17, 2017, 13:59 GMT

    Good luck to both teams by Srilanka The biggest finale of the year

  • wpbus13 on June 17, 2017, 13:55 GMT

    You learn something new every day...I did not know that Pakistan held the overall win record versus India in ODI's. Judging from recent memory, one would think that the opposite was true.

  • Chak De Indiawalle on June 17, 2017, 12:38 GMT

    Ha ha -- there goes Kiwirocker with his Alternative facts -- 13-2 in India's favor in ICC tournament and 2-0 in mini-world cup in Australia in the 80s. India has beaten Pak in major tournaments in the following countries - Eng, Aus, SA, Ban and India -- multiple times. The only place your team has won consistently is Sharjah. Period. So you want conveniently ignore facts - 13-2 and 2-0 record means India dominates and not gets lucky.

  • TestCricRox on June 17, 2017, 12:09 GMT

    What about the two wins in the world champoinship of cricket-1985? that said....the match should be good....cmon indiaaaa.....

  • CriInd on June 17, 2017, 10:39 GMT

    @KIWIROCKER however much you twist your stats but the truth is 2015 wc was held in australia which is by no means our home. Accept your loss in world cups. 1992 & 2015 Aus, 1999 Eng, 2003 SA. Just stating you the facts so that you dont have to search or create illogical facts.

  • cricfan5068292667 on June 17, 2017, 10:30 GMT

    You are forgetting the two wins India had against Pakistan in the 1985 World Championship of cricket which was played in Australia. That was a major global tournament too, which India WON beating Pakistan in the FINAL, as well as beating them in the group stage.

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