When India began their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 campaign against Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4, there were two different schools of thought about the prospects of the two sides. One half expected India, the defending champions, to make it all the way to the final, while the other half gave bottom-ranked Pakistan not even a ghost of a chance. But as things turned out, half of those people were wrong.
Pakistan are in the final and in a knockout match, anything can happen. The form book still overwhelmingly backs India to successfully defend their title, but the manner in which Pakistan contemptuously dismissed favourites England, makes the final that much more absorbing.
Even among the Indian team, for all the platitudes being offered about Pakistan's success, there seems to be a defined undertone that this was in the bag. One would do well to defer judgement till well into the second innings.
But India would be confident, for sure. That one loss to Sri Lanka was an aberration that couldn't possibly be the norm.
The batsmen have clicked in no uncertain terms. So much so that even a target of considerably over 300 seems quite reachable.
Not just that, luck too has played a part. Kedar Jadhav, deployed as a middle-order batsman, claimed two big wickets in the semi-final against Bangladesh, taking care of their momentum.
Virat Kohli has credited Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the inspired plan to bowl Jadhav. But every inspiration is a stroke of luck anyway.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed would also be looking for some breaks when the sides meet. For one, he'll be hoping that Mohammad Amir is back in action after missing the semi-final.
Pakistan will be fighting on two fronts - against India and themselves. India, on the other hand, would be happy in their current form against their neighbours and in the tournament in general.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shahzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Mohammed Amir, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail. Match Starts: 3 pm IST.