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Out of the ashes, Pakistan ready to shock

Press Association logoPress Association 16/06/2017 David Clough

Pakistan are out to change the course of cricket history by shocking India in a Champions Trophy final which they believe is "bigger than the Ashes".

More than a billion viewers are expected to tune in on Sunday to see whether India retain their title or unheralded Pakistan can sneak the silverware, having begun the tournament ranked eighth in the world.

Bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has great belief in a Pakistan team who have already knocked England out of their own tournament at the semi-final stage.

"We've got nothing to lose - the pressure is more on them," he said.

"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."

India have beaten Pakistan in all three sudden-death meetings but with Mohammad Amir expected to be available again after the back spasm which ruled him out of the last-four clash against England in Cardiff, Azhar's hopes are high.

"India have the upper hand in ICC tournaments," he added.

"But things can change, and this is the time for us to change the tag that we don't perform well at ICC events.

"History can change, and I hope we can (change it)."

This weekend's huge occasion will ask new questions of both teams.

"It is massive," said Azhar. "India refuse to play against us [on tours to Pakistan's home series in 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 has no doubt Pakistan can rise to the occasion.

"It wouldn't be a shock if we won," 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.

"I believe in my boys ... if we win it would be a great gift to the whole nation."

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