Pak­istan cricket back on track af­ter Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy vic­tory

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Shahid Afridi www.icc­cricket.com

RICH TAL­ENT From Fakhar Za­man to Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, Pak­istan has shown the world its tal­ent and pedi­gree

This is one vic­tory that Pak­istan fans will re­mem­ber for long. It has been an ul­tra-quick turn­around from no-hop­ers to cham­pi­ons for the Pak­istan play­ers and the man­ner in which the team won the match was re­ally im­pres­sive.

Rarely have I seen Pak­istan de­liver such a clin­i­cal per­for­mance in a tour­na­ment de­cider and an­ni­hi­lat­ing hot favourite In­dia came as a pleas­ant sur­prise. This Pak­istan side has made me and the na­tion proud. I am sim­ply over­joyed and over the moon on this as­ton­ish­ing suc­cess by Sar­fraz Ahmed’s side.

Pak­istan has un­earthed new he­roes in a span of 14 days. From Fakhar Za­man to Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, Pak­istan has shown the world its rich tal­ent and pedi­gree. In Sar­fraz, it now has a cap­tain who can per­haps take the team to un­prece­dented glory in the years ahead. Win­ning a world event fi­nal by 180 runs is as over­whelm­ing as it gets. Re­mem­ber, this is the same team that barely qual­i­fied for the tour­na­ment, started as the lowthrough est-ranked team in the fray, and was handed a 124-run drub­bing in the open­ing match by In­dia.

The turn­around has left the world be­wil­dered and has brought a wave of ec­stasy and un­bri­dled joy for Pak­ista­nis all around the world. As soon as the game ended, cel­e­bra­tions mir­ror­ing the 1992 World Cup and 2009 World T20 wins be­gan across the coun­try.

The game to­day was all about Pak­istan’s pos­i­tiv­ity and fear­less ap­proach. Fakhar and Azhar Ali fought through a tor­rid start, es­pe­cially the south­paw, who sur­vived af­ter nick­ing a Jasprit Bum­rah no-ball

The turn­around has left the world be­wil­dered and has brought a wave of ec­stasy and un­bri­dled joy for Pak­ista­nis all around the world.

to MS Dhoni.

Fakhar from there on blos­somed and played a scin­til­lat­ing in­nings. I would rate his per­for­mance as ar­guably the great­est by a Pak­istani in a world event fi­nal con­sid­er­ing that this was only his fourth ODI and first ever against In­dia.

I was hugely im­pressed by his courage de­spite get­ting hit in the head early in his in­nings and how he for­got that to build a most mem­o­rable in­nings.

A lot of credit must be given to Azhar, who took the re­spon­si­bil­ity to score the runs early on in the in­nings when Fakhar looked trou­bled; the two also ro­tated the strike bril­liantly which never al­lowed In­dian bowlers to set­tle.

Fakhar and Azhar es­tab­lished a won­der­ful base which was ex­ploited ef­fi­ciently by Babar Azam, Mo­ham­mad Hafeez and Imad Wasim. A real pos­i­tive for Pak­istan was its bat­ting against spin­ners Ravichan­dran Ash­win and Ravin­dra Jadeja, who looked rat­tled and clue­less against the on­slaught by the bats­men.

Chas­ing 339 was never go­ing to be easy de­spite the pedi­gree of the In­dian bat­ting line-up. To­day was the day when Mo­ham­mad Amir had to rise and per­haps re­deem him­self for good.

AFP

Pak­istan thrashed de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons In­dia by 180 runs to win the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy at The Oval.

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