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Bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said that Pakistan come into the ICC Champions Trophy final against India with “nothing to lose.” Pakistan have a poor record against India in ICC tournaments and it is only the second time that the two teams meet in a final of a tournament that is sanctioned by the international body. “We’ve got nothing to lose – the pressure is more on them (India). They are ranked higher than us – so everyone is talking about India, India. But I can tell you one thing – we have come to win,” he told reporters at The Oval.
Pakistan have had a remarkable run in the tournament so far. They came as underdogs and lost their first match against India. Since then, they have defeated South Africa and Sri Lanka before knocking out hosts and favourites England in the semi-final. “India have the upper hand in ICC tournaments. But things can change, and this is the time for us to change the tag that we don’t perform well at ICC events,” Azhar said, “History can change, and I hope we can (change it),” he told reporters at the Oval after his team’s training session.
The two teams have met thrice in knockout stages of ICC tournaments and India have won all three matches. But Mahmood said that a Pakistan win would not be a shocker due to the way the team has rallied in the tournament to reach the final. “It wouldn’t be a shock if we win,” he said, “No one gave us a hope when we got here. We were the number eight ranked side, and no one gave us any credit. But someone asked me before the tournament who would be in the final and I said Pakistan.”
He also said that a win would be a “great gift” to the country of Pakistan. He also said that, with matches between the two nations becoming rarer, it now carries the value greater than that of the Ashes.
“It is massive match. India refuse to play against us (inPakistan’s adopted home of the United Arab Emirates). But(now) on the biggest stage it is India v Pakistan. It is like the Ashes … it is bigger than the Ashes — and expectation is high from both nations, crazy about cricket. The pressure is high for both sides and their countries… it is a dream final for the sponsors and the broadcasters. This is the game they want, but it is up to us how we handle the pressure on the day,” he said.