Defending champions India will be aiming to shut out off-field controversies when they lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in their ICC Champions Trophy opener — a marquee contest where tension and drama is never in short supply.

Pakistan won only their second toss against India in nine international matches since the start of 2013 and elected to field with rain forecast for later in the day. They went for the X-factor of Shadab Khan’s legspin over the batting of Faheem Ashraf. Wahab Riaz found a place in their XI ahead of Junaid Khan, who has an excellent record against India’s captain Virat Kohli: 22 balls, two runs and three wickets.

India Vs Pakistan ICC Champions Throphy 2017

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Considering the weather forecast, it was a huge toss to win for Pakistan. India are clear favourites but the toss will balance things out a little especially in case of a run-shortened match. Misbah pointed out yesterday that it’s important for Pakistan to make use of the new ball & get rid of Virat Kohli early on if they are to stand any chance. Amir has started really well, unlucky not to get Rohit Sharma’s wicket in the very first over. Pakistan opted to give the new ball to Imad Wasim instead of Hasan Ali but then again Amir hasn’t swung the ball much. Generally the new ball hasn’t swung in this tournament despite the overcast conditions. No boundaries yet, something is about to give.

 For Kohli’s India, the opening pair that set up their Champions Trophy win in 2013 was reunited: Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Perhaps with weather around, perhaps tempted by the excellent form of the quicks, India left R Ashwin out of the XI, playing only one specialist spinner in Ravindra Jadeja. Among the quicks, Mohammed Shami missed out.

India 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Bhunveshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Umesh Yadav

Pakistan 1 Azhar Ali, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt. & wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Hasan Ali.

India Vs Pakistan ICC Champions Throphy 2017

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