LONDON: Pakistan hammed arch rivals India by 180 runs in a thrilling competition at London’s Oval ground to clinch the Champions Trophy title on Sunday.
Indian captain Virat Kohli put Pakistan into bat after winning the toss and the decision proved costly for India as Pakistan put up a daunting total of 338 runs with the loss of just four wickets. The Indian batting lineup failed miserably in the chase as Pakistani bowlers spearheaded by Muhammad Amir ran riot, dismissing the Indian team for just 158 runs.
Amir who dismissed Rohit Sharma (nought), India captain Virat Kohli (five) and Shikhar Dhawan (21) in a stunning new-ball spell finished with three for 16 in six overs and Hasan Ali, who kick-started Pakistan´s revival in their group-win over top-ranked South Africa also took three wickets and ended the match when he had Jasprit Bumrah caught by gleeful captain and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Hassan also finished with a table-topping haul of 13 wickets for the tournament. Teenage spinner Shadab Khan claimed two wickets while Junaid Khan also took a wicket. For India, it was only lower order batsman Hardik Pandya who contributed with the bat, the all rounder smashed 76 runs of just 43 balls in an innings that consisted of six sixes.
A proud Sarfraz Ahmed lifted the trophy, with Pakistan also getting 2.2 million dollars in prize money. India received 1.1 million dollars as runners-up. The cricket team was congratulated and showered with praise by political, sports and entertainment personalities.
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa congratulated the team and announced Umrah for the entire cricket team. “Nothing beats ‘Team Work’, Pakistan is a team against every threat,” the COAS was quoted saying by the Inter Services Public Relations.
Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat congratulated the team and the nation on historic victory. Air and Naval Chiefs also congratulated the team and the nation.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah also congratulated Pakistan cricket team and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed on historic win against India. He lauded the outstanding performance of young player Fakhar Zaman who is an ex-sailor of Pakistan Navy and was part of the Pakistan Navy cricket team for seven years.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif have congratulated the national cricket team over this historic victory after a long time.
Earlier, Pakistan’s opening pair of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman made an edgy start with Fakhar Zaman looking particularly vulnerable. The left handed batsman was helped in the early overs by opening partner Azhar Ali who scored at a brisk rate. Once the initial nerves settled during which Fakhar was also dismissed of a no ball, the left handed batsman let loose hammering the Indian attack to all parts of the ground.
Pakistan’s opening pair put on a stand of 128, Azhar was unlucky as he was run out while on 59 after a mix-up with Fakhar. It was the run out after which the left handed batsman let loose, soon after Azhar dismissal Fakhar notched 33 runs from two overs of Jadeja and Ashwin. Fakhar’s timely attack put India on the back foot who felt a chance of squeezing Pakistan.
Fakhar and Babar took the Pakistan score to 200 when Fakhar was dismissed, but that not before the left handed opener slammed his maiden One Day International’s ton, Fakhar’s innings ended on 114 of just 105 deliveries.
Indian managed to dismiss Shoaib Malik for just 12 and that stage Pakistan were reduced to 247/3 with around ten overs to spare. This was when Muhammad Hafeez stepped in and showed his class, the all rounder dubbed Professor remained on the crease till the very end scoring a quick fired 57. Imad Wasim aided him with a 21 ball 25. Babar Azam was also a key contributor scoring 46 runs.