LONDON, June 18: An inspired Pakistan hammered a blundering India by 180 runs to lift the ICC Champions Trophy, riding on a scintillating hundred from rookie opener Fakhar Zaman and a sensational bowling spell from Mohammad Amir.
This is Pakistan’s first ICC title triumph since their 2009 World Twenty20 win but more importantly it broke the jinx of not performing against India in big ticket matches.
For a team that can’t play international cricket at home due to security issues, the victory has far-reaching implications.
If Zaman announced his arrival in international cricket with a match-defining knock, Pakistan cricket’s ‘enfant terrible’ Amir finally managed to sing a redemption song that he has been longing for.
It was a charged-up performance from Sarfraz Ahmed’s underdog team with left-handed opener Zaman, after a lucky reprieve, scoring a pulsating 114 in their imposing 338 for 4.
Amir (6-2-16-3) then tormented the Indian batsmen with a devastating first spell and eventually the defending champions were bundled out for 158 in only 30.3 overs.
The match turned out to be one of the most nightmarish under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. It was a match where everything went awry for the ‘Men in Blue’ from the time Kohli went out for the toss.
On a flat deck, Kohli surprised everyone opting to field, a decision prompted by the current team’s ability to chase any target. It started on a wrong note when a beautiful delivery from Jasprit Bumrah was nicked by an edgy Zaman only to be called no-ball due to overstepping. Zaman went on to score a ton.
The two spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (0/70 in 10 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/67 in 8 overs) were then taken to the task with not a single wicket-taking delivery being bowled by the duo.
With no assistance from the pitch, their limitations were thoroughly exposed against batsmen, who were ready to use their feet.
The ‘Law of Averages’ were certainly going to catch up with India’s ‘Big Three’ after their brilliant run in the tournament. Worse, it happened in the final.
Rohit Sharma (0), Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Virat Kohli (5) were snuffed out by Amir in a devastating first spell with three brilliant deliveries. The fate of the match was sealed.
Hardik Pandya smashed 76 off 43 balls, hit half a dozen of sixes to provide some entertainment, before being run-out due to a horrible mix-up with Jadeja. Pandya was livid but he was only delaying the inevitable.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali run out 59, Fakhar Zaman c Jadeja b Pandya 114, Babar Azam c Yuvraj b Jadhav 46, Shoaib Malik c Jadhav b Kumar 12, Mohammad Hafeez not out 57, Imad Wasim not out 25; Extras: (LB-9, WD-13, NB-3) 25. Total: (For 4 wickets in 50 overs) 338. Fall of wickets: 1-128, 2-200, 3-247, 4-267. Bowling: B Kumar 10-2-44-1, J Bumrah 9-0-68-0, R Ashwin 10-0-70-0, H Pandya 10-0-53-1, R Jadeja 8-0-67-0, K Jadhav 3-0-27-1.
India: Rohit Sharma lbw b Mohammad Amir 0, Shikhar Dhawan c Sarfraz Ahmed b Mohammad Amir 21, Virat Kohli c Shadab Khan b Mohammad Amir 5, Yuvraj Singh lbw b Shadab Khan 22, MS Dhoni c Imad Wasim b Hasan Ali 4, Kedar Jadhav c Sarfraz Ahmed b Shadab Khan 9, Hardik Pandya run out 76, Ravindra Jadeja c Babar Azam b Junaid Khan 15, R Ashwin c Sarfraz Ahmed b Hasan Ali 1, Bhuvneshwar Kumar not out 0, Jasprit Bumrah c Sarfraz Ahmed b Hasan Ali 1; Extras: (lb 2, w 1) 3. Total: (all out wickets; 30.3 overs) 158. Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-6, 3-33, 4-54, 5-54, 6-72, 7-152, 8-156, 9-156, 10-158. Bowling: Mohammad Amir 6-2-16-3, Junaid Khan 6-1-20-1, Mohammad Hafeez 1-0-13-0, Hasan Ali 6.3-1-1-9, Shadab Khan 7-0-60-2, Imad Wasim 0.3-0-3-0, Fakhar Zaman 3.3-0-25-0. – PTI