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Pakistan claims maiden Champions Trophy title; Kohli's boys fail to chase

Batting first, Pakistan scored 338 for 4 wickets in 50 overs, with great knocks by Hafeez and Zaman

BS Web Team & PTI  |  New Delhi 

Pakistan won maiden Champions Trophy title. Photo: Twitter
Pakistan won maiden Champions Trophy title, beat India by 180 runs. Photo: Twitter

The glorious Indian batting line-up crumbled for 158 runs in 30.3 overs as the Pakistani team beat the Virat Kohli-led side by 180 runs on Sunday at London’s Oval ground to clinch their maiden title. 

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.

(0), (21) and (5) were snuffed out by in a devastating first spell with three brilliant deliveries. The fate of the match was sealed. 

Hardik Pandya tried to put up a brave front and scored his second ODI fifty. However, he was run out for 76 runs. 

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 Fakhar 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.

Put in to bat first by Virat Kohli, who had won the toss and elected to field, the Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan side capitalised on the opportunity to set a massive target of 339 for India to chase in the final tie. 

Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and  Zaman gave their side a solid start, with the former scoring 59 and the latter 114 – a partnership of 128 runs. While Ali was run out by in the 23rd over, Zaman went on to become the first Pakistani player to score three consecutive fifties in an ICC event.

In the last leg of the innings, Mohammad Hafeez scored a quick-fire 57 runs off 37 balls to help his team score the big total.

For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar scalped Shoaib Malik (12), Hardik Pandya sent Zaman back in the 34th over, and Kedar Jadhav removed Babar Azam (46) in the 43rd over.

In a dramatic twist earlier on in the innings, Zaman had nearly been dismissed as he was nicked a bouncy ball from and the ball was neatly pouched by wicket-keeper M S Dhoni. However, it emerged in replays that Bumrah had overstepped the crease and delivered a no-ball.

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. Zaman and Azhar were ready to use their feet and with no turn on offer whipped them on all parts of the ground with ease. In between the two lead spinners, they were hit for 12 boundaries and five sixes.

The second Powerplay (Overs 11-40) were fully utilised by Pakistan, who scored 191 runs and bulk of those came off the spinners.

Jadeja was guilty of not varying his pace. He bowled too quick and too flat which made strokeplay easier.

Zaman’s batting didn’t have the grace that one normally associates with left-handers but on a true pitch where hitting through the line was easy, it suited his style.

The best part about Zaman was his ability to find the boundary at ease during the second Powerplay.