In a stunning display of all-round cricket, Pakistan created history by winning their first ever Champions Trophy title after defeating arch-rivals India by 180 runs in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017 at the Kennington Oval in London.
Recovering brilliantly after losing the tournament opener against the same opposition, Pakistan won all their remaining group matches before conquering hosts and favourites England in the semis en route to the final. It meant India and Pakistan would lock horns in the final of an ICC event after 10 years, but much to the dismay of million fans across the globe, the encounter turned out to be a lop-sided one. Pakistan exacted the perfect revenge of the loss a decade ago and churned out the biggest win against their neighbours in their ODI history.
As Pakistan scripted a historic win defying all odds, we take a look at what unfolded at the Oval, something which the Indian fans would eagerly want to forget.
Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman take Pakistan off to a flier
A watchful start from Azhar Ali meant the first over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a maiden, but that was of little concern for the Pakistan team. India’s decision of opting to field after winning the toss seemed to be a correct call, as edges started to fly off, albeit through the vacant regions. Jasprit Bumrah momentarily drew the first blood for India, when he had in-form Fakhar Zaman caught behind in the 4th over of the innings. However, replays showed Bumrah had overstepped and Zaman got a huge reprieve.
The edges continued to evade the Indian fielders as the Pakistan batting duo rode their luck and some poor bowling effort to bring up the fifty-run stand in the 10th over. The numerous attempted shys at the stumps too failed to disturb the woodwork even once and clearly India was having an ill-fated day in the field. The move of introducing the spinners also did not click as Ashwin and Jadeja leaked runs over six an over. In no time, Pakistan was 125/0 in 22 overs and Virat Kohli was seen sporting a worried look.
Ali departs but Zaman notches up his maiden ODI ton
— ICC (@ICC) June 18, 2017
A suicidal call from Azhar Ali saw himself run out in 23rd over but it not deter Zaman’s concentration. With an able ally in next man Babar Azam, Zaman stepped on the accelerator in Jadeja’s sixth over, smacking him for two fours and a six. Treating Ashwin with equal disdain, he raced from 61(78) to 93(86) within two overs. Zaman’s cherished moment for his entire life came in the 31st over as he swept Ashwin for a fabulous four to reach his deserving ton.
His scintillating 114 off 106 balls was finally cut short by Hardik Pandya as Zaman’s slice was safely pouched in Jadeja’s hands. Shoaib Malik was next in but it was Azam who started playing his shots and keeping Pakistan’s run rate above six. Nevertheless, both Malik (16) and Azam (46) departed in quick succession and Pakistan were 270/4 at the end of 43 overs.
Hafeez’s quick fire fifty helps Pakistan reach 338
Imad Wasim was sent in ahead of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, a move which left many bewildered. But a six and a four proved Imad was no pushover with the willow. However, as expected, it was experienced partner Hafeez who shouldered responsibility to score the lion’s share of the runs in the death overs. Launching in an onslaught in the final overs, Hafeez raced to his half-century off just 34 balls and Pakistan could smell a score in excess of 330 with wickets galore in hand.
Both Bhuvi and Bumrah failed to get their Yorkers right at the end and Hafeez was in no mood to let go the opportunity. Two no-balls in the penultimate over from Bumrah was an added bonus though Pakistan failed to capitalize much on that. Yet they finished on 338/4 in allotted 50 overs, thanks to Hafeez’s unbeaten 57 off 37 balls, an innings laced with four boundaries and three sixes and Imad’s 21-ball 25.
Amir’s devastating opening spell leaves India reeling
Enjoy this beautiful opening spell. Amir destroys Indian top order. pic.twitter.com/Dy8naDZccU
— T. (@iDoosra) June 18, 2017
Making a comeback after missing the semi-final against England, Mohammad Amir was right on the money in his very first over. Three balls in his first over, and Amir had dismissed last match centurion Rohit Sharma for a duck. After a brief consultation with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit decided against the review and India had lost their first wicket with no runs on the board. But the real drama was yet to unfold and little did the Indian fans know what was in store for them.
In Amir’s second over, Azhar Ali dropped a regulation catch of Virat Kohli in the slips which not only left the bowler fuming but also had coach Mickey Arthur his hands over his head in disbelief. But it was not second time lucky for Kohli as very next ball India was two down with Shadab Khan latching on to the Indian captain’s outside edge that flew at point. Ali breathed a sigh of relief as Pakistan took a giant stride towards victory with the scoreboard reading 6/2.
Dhawan seemed in his fluent touch, striking boundaries with ease as India tried to recover from the fatal double strike. But Amir was not yet finished as the final delivery of his fifth over gently kissed Dhawan’s poking bat before being deposited in Sarfaraz’s gloves. A maiden to cap off his opening spell, Amir’s figures read a staggering 6-2-16-3.
Pandya’s cameo keeps Indian hopes alive but Pakistan complete emphatic victory
— #CT17 #CT17 #CT17 (@ICC_SportsInfo) June 18, 2017
The onus was entirely on the experienced duo of Yuvraj and Dhoni to bail India out of trouble. But they could not and India’s situation went from bad to worse. After a flurry of boundaries from Yuvi, both MS and the southpaw was back in the pavilion in the space of four balls and India had lost half of their side for just 54! Kedhar Jadhav too could not contribute much and India was in tatters at 72/6.
But there was Hardik Pandya who refused to surrender and took the fight to the opposition camp. His aggressive batting was at his lethal best as he clobbered Shadab for 23 in an over to notch his fifty off just 32 balls. Six maximums and four boundaries came off his willow in 43 balls as Pandya scored a brilliant 76, before running himself out courtesy a horrible mix-up with Jadeja. His wicket brought an end to final hopes of a billion Indian fans and Pakistan was on the verge of a memorable victory.
The remaining batsmen came a cropper and India ultimately folded up for 158, handing their arch-rivals a huge win. Amir was the architect with his 3-for 16, before the best bowler in the tournament, Hasan Ali completed the formalities with 3/19 in 6.3 overs. Pandya’s 76 was the only score worth mentioning in an abysmal display of batting by the Indian batsmen, which included Dhawan and Yuvraj’s 21 and 22 respectively.