Pakistan's path to Champions Trophy glory

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

Fast bowler Amir ripped out India's top three batsmen before the defending champions subsided to 158 all out with 19.3 overs to spare.

Pakistan have managed to bounce back in the tournament, trouncing South Africa and Sri Lanka in the group stages and England in the semi-finals to book a berth in the final.

Pakistan, made to bat first for the first time in the tournament, racked up a final-record innings of 338-4, founded on a 128-run opening stand between Fakhar Zaman, who earned his maiden one-day global century with 114, and Azhar Ali, whom Fakhar ran out on 59.

Babar Azam (46), Mohammad Hafeez (57*) and Imad Wasim (25*) contributed with their willows.

It was Pakistan's first global 50-over title since the 1992 World Cup and a sweet moment for a team who have been unable to host worldwide cricket in recent years due to security concerns. "We thought one big partnership would have set it up nicely", Indian captain Virat Kohli said.

Amir struck just three balls into India's reply when, after bowling two outswingers to Sharma, he had him lbw with a superb inswinger.

Zaman went on and scored his maiden century as Pakistan posted a mammoth total of 338 for 4 for India to chase.

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"I want to congratulate the Pakistan team and their fans, I think they really had an unbelievable tournament", Kohli said on Sky Sports. Credit to Pakistan. They outplayed us.

India won the toss and chose to put Pakistan into bat - a decision that turned out to be a awful call.

The victory ends India's hopes of becoming the first team to capture the title three times. Despite Hardik Pandya's 76 from 43 deliveries down the order, India could not rebuild after Amir's brilliance, and were beaten by 180 runs.

It appeared India, chasing 339 to win, had had a lucky break when Kohli, the world's leading one-day worldwide batsman, was dropped on five by first slip Azhar Ali off Amir.

"When a guy like Azhar Ali, who is a conventional batsman, plays his shots, you can still have a plan", said Kohli to reporters after the match.

Denied the calming influence of an early wicket, India's bowlers looked nervous.

Pacer Mohammad Amir also starred with the ball in Sunday's final, taking a trio of wickets while Shadab Khan added two more and Junaid Khan took one.

Other reports by GizPress

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