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June 19, 2017

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Pakistan crush Indian team, lift Champions Trophy

Pakistan crush Indian team, lift Champions Trophy

Pakistanis erupt in joy as they celebrate country’s most famous 50-over win in 25 years

LONDON: The stars aligned for Pakistan on a bright Sunday in South London when they cut old rivals India down to size to win their maiden Champions Trophy crown.

Pakistan sizzled at the sun-baked Oval on their way to their greatest 50-over triumph since the 1992 World Cup as they thrashed much-fancied India, the defending champions, by a whopping 180 runs. It seemed that Pakistan, who were outclassed by India in a 124-run win in an earlier game of the tournament, were saving their best for the last.

With hundreds of millions of fans glued to their TV sets all over the world, Pakistan came out with a clinical show with both the bat and ball to finally end their Indian jinx in ICC tournaments.

The biggest heroes for Pakistan were rookie opener Fakhar Zaman and left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir. Fakhar, playing in just his fourth ODI, delivered the first blow when he capitalised on a let-off to hit a barnstorming 114 off 106 balls that propelled Pakistan to 338-4. No team have ever chased that much in an ICC event’s final. But many thought that India’s vaunted batting line-up was up to the task.

Mohammad Amir squashedall such hopes with a fiery opening spell that saw him scalping India’s prolific top-three -- Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan -- in quick succession. Having lost the three cheaply, the Indians quickly slipped to 54-5 and even though the big-hitting Hardik Pandya tried to lift them with a 43-ball 76, it was only a matter of time before the innings caved in.

With Hasan Ali, the tournament’s top wicket-taker, Junaid Khan and Shadab Khan going for the kill, the Indians were finally bowled out for just 158 in 30.3 overs.

The Pakistanis erupted with joy as they celebrated the country’s most famous 50-over win in 25 years. The victory refreshed memories of the historic 1992 World Cup triumph when Pakistan came back from the verge of elimination to win the coveted crown. Pakistan were faced with a similar situation in the Champions Trophy after they fell against India in their opening game at Edgbaston. But they prevailed in four must-win games in a row to win the Champions Trophy. It is the first time that Pakistan have beaten India in the final of an ICC event.

Pakistan, who started the tournament as the eighth-ranked team, should thank the 27-year-old Fakhar for laying the platform for the memorable win. Amir’s contribution deserves praise in equal measure. He landed a series of fatal blows with the new ball, pinning big-scoring opener Rohit Sharma off what was just the third ball of the Indian innings. Azhar Ali spilled a regulation chance of Indian captain Virat Kohli in the slips but Amir scalped him off his very next delivery. With the master run-chaser gone, Pakistan sensed they were on verge of a big win. Amir dismissed Dhawan, the tournament’s leading scorer with Sarfraz taking a simple catch behind the stumps.

Veteran Yuvraj Sindh was deceived by young leggie Shadab Khan while former captain MS Dhoni fell to Hasan Ali. Pandya’s resistance was ended by a run-out and minutes later last-man Jasprit Bumrah was missed by Hasan, triggering celebrations all over the ground.

Earlier, India opted to bowl first on a wicket that seemed full of runs. Then Bumrah dismissed Fakhar off a no-ball on three and the opener made India pay for the reprieve with a 92-ball ton. He shared an opening stand of 128 with Azhar Ali, who was run-out after making 59 off 79 balls.

Mohammad Hafeez belted an unbeaten 57 from just 37 balls and Babar Azam made 46 from 52. Pakistan added 91 runs to their total in the last 10 overs to set India a target that had never been achieved in the final of an ICC tournament.

 

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