ICC Champions Trophy Final: Red hot Pakistan tear apart rivals India

A sharp bowling attack ignited by Muhammad Amir proved the perfect foil for a scintillating batting display.

ICC Champions Trophy Final: Red hot Pakistan tear apart rivals India
Pakistan celebrate a famous victory (photo: Getty Images)

Despite coming into the tournament as eighth seeds, Pakistan stunned their greatest rivals India with a thrilling 180-run victory in soaring temperatures at the Oval.

Fakhar leads supercharged underdogs at the crease

India had previously hammered their neighbours earlier in the tournament and when Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to field, a decision Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed suggested he would have chosen, it appeared that luck was glistening in the favour of India in front of a sell-out crowd.

Such an advantage looked critical when Fakhar Zaman only escaped being caught behind for three runs when Jaspirit Bumrah was adjudged to have delivered a no ball. On the greatest stage sparked further by the rivalry of the two nations, Fakhar could have been forgiven for playing a more contained game. Yet this opener only has one way of batting.

Pakistan have been searching for a settled opening partnership for several years but they finally appear to have found a winning formula. Complimented by contrasting styles, the conservative Azhar Ali and offensive Fakhar provide the perfect foil for each other. After developing a crucial century against England in the semi-finals, the duo efficiently reached the milestone again as they contributed 128 before Azhar was run out on 59. By the time the dangerous Fakhar was dismissed, he had caused carnage with shots all around the Oval and had made a magnificent 114 as Pakistan reached 200.

Shoaib Malik only made 12 but Babar Azam was in fine fickle to contribute 46 as Pakistan kept the scoreboard ticking over at a substantial rate. Yet it was Mohammad Hafeez who really manufactured the fireworks, producing a speedy unbeaten 57 from just 37 deliveries as the underdogs set a healthy total of 338-4.
With India boasting three of the top five run-scorers from the tournament in their upper order, the game looked destined for a tight finish. Yet Mohammad Amir had other ideas.

Amir rips through dangerous Indian trio

Pakistan's premium bowler trapped the second highest run-scorer Rohit Sharma in just the third ball of the innings for LBW. That moment sparked carnage. Kohli escaped a dropped catch at slip in Amir's next over, only to be athletically captured at point by 18-year old Shadab Khan the very next ball. India were 6-2.

Shikhar Dhawan finished the tournament top of the batting charts but his 21 was just a shade of the form he had produced in the proceeding matches. Amir found the edge to earn his third wicket and reduce India to 33-3.

The experienced duo of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni were left with a mountain to climb but they were barely started their trek after being dismissed just three balls apart. Yuvraj fell to the young Shadab before Dhoni became the first of three victims for Hasan Ali who ended the tournament with 13 wickets at the top of the bowling charts.

India were 54-5 and soon 72-6 as Shadab dismissed Kedar Jadhav cheaply. With the game all but over, Hardik Pandya decided to release the shackles and smashed three consecutive sixes on his way to a 31-ball half-century. Pandya looked to be the one Indian player timing the ball well and he had cleared the rope no less than six times before miscommunication with Ravi Jadeja saw him run out for a quickfire 76.

Pakistan took 24 balls for the price of only six runs as they cleared up the lower order with Hasan leading the way. India were left humbled at 158 all-out in the 31st over as Pakistan ensured they made the most of their first competitive ODI final since 1999. This team of youngsters look a force to be reckoned with over the coming years. 
 


Share on Facebook