Cricket

Decoding Pakistan’s journey to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017

Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates hitting the winning runs

The Pakistan cricket team is one of the most unpredictable teams in the modern era. They are capable of winning toughest of the matches on their day while inexplicably losing the others.

At this point, the Pakistan cricket team is ranked 8th in the ODI points table and last year they failed to directly qualify for the Cricket World Cup 2019. They entered the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 as minnows and many raised questions about their ability to perform at the highest level.

They received a big set back in their opening game of the tournament when they were brutally trashed by arch-rivals India by 124 runs (D/L method). The voices of those opposing their presence in the tournament got stronger and stronger. Even their former players raised eyebrows.

 

Imran Khan on Twitter

As a sportsman I know winning & losing are part of the game but it’s painful to watch Pak being thrashed by India without putting up a fight

Their second game of the tournament was against the number one ranked team in the ICC table – South Africa. Here they managed to stick to their basics and didn’t allow the Proteas to score. They restricted them to 219 in 50 overs and managed to win the rain-affected match by 19 runs (D/L method). This was a major shock as no one expected Pakistan to beat the African side with such ease.

 

Hassan Ali in action

 

Riding on a shock win against the South Africa in the last game, Pakistan faced Sri Lanka in the decider. The winner of this game would get a place in the semifinals. Pakistan restricted the Lankans to 236 in 50 overs, but they themselves couldn’t stand firm in their run chase. After a good opening stand of 75 runs, their wickets began to tumble and they were 7 down for 162. Then it was Sarfraz Ahmed who stood firm in the centre and took his team to the semifinals.

Also Read: Champions Trophy Semi-final: Clinical Pakistan oust England to reach final!

The 1st semifinal of the tournament wasn’t an easy task as their opponents were the hosts and the table toppers from group A, England. The England cricket team hadn’t lost a single point in the group stage and were dominant throughout the tournament.

However, England were blown away by the Pakistani bowling and batting and ended up on the losing side. Pakistan defeated the hosts quite easily by 8 wickets and reserved their seat for the finals. Pakistan not only managed to book a seat for the finals but also answered their critics.

The final of the tournament will be played between Pakistan and the winner of the second semifinal between India and Bangladesh. One thing is for sure – no one will underestimate the Pakistan cricket team in this one.

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