Arch-rivals face-off in final

Cricket T20 WC for the Blind: Defending champs India take on Pakistan for the title today

Arch-rivals face-off in final

In what promises to be a mouth-watering clash of two heavyweights, India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup for the Blind at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.

Defending champions India secured a thumping ten-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first semifinal on Friday, while Pakistan kept their unbeaten record intact after overpowering England by 147 runs in the other last-4 tie on Saturday.

It will be a repeat of the 2012 final when India, aided by veteran Ketan Patel’s 43-ball 98, edged their neighbours by 29 runs and lifted the trophy.

Not much has changed in the last five years as both sides continue to thoroughly dominate blind cricket, but Pakistan do look to have the edge, having beaten India in the league phase.

India, though, can take heart from the fact that even in the previous edition, they had lost to Pakistan in the league phase but exacted revenge in the final.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Patrick Rajkumar, the long serving coach of the Indian side, said, “I know we lost in the league stage but the final is a different ball game altogether. In the last encounter (versus Pakistan) we were fatigued and that reflected in our fielding and bowling.

“After the match we went back and worked on all those aspects and if you look at the last few results, we are a team that is peaking at the right time.”

The hosts boast of one of the best batting line-ups in the tournament with Prakash J leading the charts for his side having accumulated 400 runs so far. The batsman is also coming off an unbeaten 115 in the semifinal.

“Batting is definitely our strength and we hope it clicks once again in final,” said skipper Ajay Kumar Reddy.

The bowling department hasn’t showed the same consistency but with the likes of Ajay (8 wickets) and Sunil (7 wickets), they could pose a threat.

For the high-flying Pakistan side, Riasat Khan has been prolific with 454 runs, which includes two centuries, while Badar Munir (417 runs and 8 wickets) has been in devastating form all-round.

The final will be free to the public, who can use Gates 2 (for disabled persons as well) and 17 at the stadium. There will also be a live telecast on DD Sports from 10 am.

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