Unfancied Pakistan wins Champions Trophy for cricket in style
Over confident India licked the dirt in the final facing a humiliating defeat by an under-rated team, Pakistan.
Unfancied Pakistan, the lowest ranked in the 2017 Champions Trophy cricket tournament won the title in its maiden entry to the final by crushing defending champion India by 180 runs on 18 June at the Oval, England.
Put into bat, Pakistan gave its best batting display in the tournament. Thanks to a fine 114 (off 106 balls and inclusive of 12 fours and 3 sixes) by aggressive left-hand opener Fakhar Zaman, who made his debut vs South Africa in this tournament, Pakistan scored 338 for 4 in its 50 overs. Zaman shared in a 128 run opening stand with Azhar Ali (59 run out) and a second wicket stand of 72 with Babar Azam (46).
Finally, Md. Hafeez (57 not out off 37 balls) and Imad Wasim (25 not out off 21 balls) put on an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 71 to take Pakistan to 338 for 4. Paceman Bumrah did get Zaman caught behind by Dhoni off a no ball (so it served no purpose) when the batsman was only 3 and the side’s score was 8. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya bowled quite well.
When India began its difficult chase, Pakistan paceman Md. Amir was at his very best. Amir with some brilliant swing bowling dismissed India’s top three rungetters – Rohit Sharma leg before for 0, Virat Kohli caught off a leading edge at point for 5 and Shikhar Dhawan, the tournament’s highest rungetter, caught behind for 21 and India was reeling at 33 for 3.
The rest of the innings was very disappointing with the exception of Hardik Pandya, who capitalised on some poor spin bowling and reluctance of the opposition to go for the kill, to score a belligerent 76 off 43 balls inclusive of 4 fours and 6 sixes. Pandya had hit 3 sixes off Imad Wasim in one over in his 20 not out against Pakistan in the opening Group match.
However, when the pacemen returned, India was dismissed for 158 in 30 overs and three balls – losing the crucial match by 180 runs. For Pakistan, Amir was the star with 3 wickets for 16 runs. He was well supported by Hassan Ali (3 for 19), Shadab Khan (2 for 60) and Junaid Khan (1 for 20).
Shadab’s first few overs were really good and he tricked experienced
players like Yuvraj and Kedar Jadhav. Sarfaraz impressed with his captaincy in the tournament. In the final, he took four catches.
Pakistan opened its Group B fixtures playing India at Edgbaston on 4 June. The young Pakistan cricketers in the side seemed overawed and, as a result, bowled poorly and fielded badly missing one easy and crucial catch in particular. The bowling attack was so ruthlessly punished that the batsmen did not put up a fight. So India coasted to a big 124run win under the D/L method in a rain-affected match.
The simple catch was dropped by Hassan Ali of Man Of The Match Yuvraj Singh when the batsman was on 8. It proved very costly as Kohli and Yuvraj put on 93 in very quick time – hitting the ball with devastating power.
Pakistan also paid heavily for preferring a not-fully-fit Wahab Riaz to Junaid Khan. Nevertheless, the huge defeat against India made Pakistan recover from its slumber and they were a different team after that game.
In the second Group match, Pakistan met South Africa at Edgbaston. South Africa decided to bat first in this day-night fixture. In its fifty overs, South Africa mainly due to a fine 75 not out by David Miller reached 219 for 8. Miller was well supported by Chris Morris (28) and Kagiso Rabada (26). The Pakistan bowlers bowled well with Hassan Ali taking 3 for 24.
Pakistan’s innings was interrupted by rain. Play was finally stopped due to the weather after 27 overs were completed in Pakistan’s innings. At that stage, Pakistan thanks to some aggressive and sound batting by their top order-debutant Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Md. Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were 119 for 3. This helped Pakistan win by 19 runs under the D/L method.
Pakistan’s final Group match against Sri Lanka was virtually a knockout game – the winner making it to the semi-final. The game turned out to be a most well-fought and exciting one. Put into bat first, Sri Lanka collapsed from 161 for 3 to 236 all out in 49 overs and 2 balls. For Sri Lanka, N. Dickwella scored 73, Mathews (39), Gunaratne (27) and Lakmal (26). Junaid Khan and Hassan Ali took 3 wickets each.
Set to score 237 for a win, Pakistan started well with Fakhar Zaman (50) and Azhar Ali (34) putting on 74 for the first wicket. Pakistan then collapsed to 162 for 7 when Amir joined skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad. Sarfaraz (61 not out) and Amir (28 not out) put on an unbroken 75 for the 8th wicket and took Pakistan to the semi-finals.
Pakistan won by 3 wickets but they were fortunate that Sarfaraz was dropped twice off Malinga. The first of those chances was a very simple one that was put down by Thisara Perera. It was Pakistan’s first entry to the semi-final of this tournament.
In the semifinals, Pakistan met England – the top team in Group A at Cardiff. England had won all its Group matches quite convincingly and were deemed favourites. Unfancied Pakistan put up a superb all-round performance to win by 8 wickets and enter the final of the Champions Trophy for the first time.
Pakistan won the toss and put England to bat. From a solid 80 for 1, England collapsed to 211 all out in 49 overs and 5 balls. Pakistan’s bowling, despite the absence of Md. Amir who was not fit, was most impressive. Hassan Ali with 3 for 35 was the best bowler on view. He was supported by left arm pacemen Junaid Khan and new cap Rumman Raees and spinners Shadab Khan, Md. Hafeez and Imad Wasim. The Pakistan catching was quite good – the one Fakhar Zaman took of Moeen Ali was exceptional.
Set 212 for a win, Pakistan began with a 118-run opening stand between Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57). This was followed by partnerships of 55 for the second wicket between Azhar Ali and Babar Azam and an unbeaten 42-run third wicket stand between Babar Azam (38 not out) and Md. Hafeez (31 not out) which took Pakistan to an eightwicket win. With this impressive win, Pakistan entered the final of the Champions Trophy for the first time.
Defending champions India played its first Group B match against Pakistan. Pakistan won the toss and put India to bat. The Indian opening pair of Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) put on 136. After the dismissal of Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh came in at number 4 to join Virat Kohli with the score at 192 for 2.
Man Of The Match Yuvraj, who scored a decisive 53 off just 32 balls, was dropped by Hassan Ali – a sitteroff Shadab Khan with his individual score on 8 and the side’s score on 205. After that, Yuvraj and Virat who scored 81 not out off 68 balls gave a brutal exhibition of batting taking the score to 285-3 at very quick pace.
Win by chance
Hardik Pandya (20 not out) who joined Kohli after Yuvraj’s dismissal hit 3 sixes in one over off Imad Wasim and India finished at 319 for 3. Set 320 for a win in first 48 overs and then 289 in 41 overs, Pakistan due to a mixture of poor batting and bad running between the wickets managed only 164 in 33 overs and 4 balls. Riaz did not bat due to injury. Azhar Ali was top scorer with 50. India won by 124 runs by the D/L method. Umesh Yadav took 3 wickets.
India suffered a shocking 7-wicket defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in its second Group match at the Oval. Batting first, India put on an impressive 321 for 6 in fifty overs. Shikhar Dhawan (125) and Rohit Sharma (78) put on 138 for the first wicket. Virat Kohli went for zero and India were 139 for 2. MS Dhoni (63 off 52 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (25 not out off 13 balls) helped India reach its final score.
Sri Lanka started its reply poorly
losing its first wicket of N Dickwella at 11. After that, all the other Sri Lankan batsmen played sensible and positive cricket ensuring that Sri Lanka scored a most impressive 7wicket win.
For Sri Lanka, two batsmen – opener Gunathilaka (76) and Kushal Mendis (89) were run out. The two of them put on 159 for the second wicket. Kushal Perera retired hurt on 47 and then skipper Angelo Mathews (52 not out) and Gunaratne (24 not out off 21 balls) ensured that Sri Lanka won. The Indian bowling lacked variety and penetration and was honestly bereft of ideas. Off spinner Ashwin was missed.
India cruises into semis
India’s final league game in Group B at the Oval turned out to be a knock out game for a place in the semi-finals. With the South African batsmen in particular playing and running between the wickets like immature school kids, India cruised to an easy 8-wicket win and entered the semi-finals.
Put into bat, South Africa scored only 191 in 44 overs and 3 balls after a sound opening stand of 76 between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. Set 192 to win, India reached the target for the loss of two wickets with 12 overs to spare. Ashwin made a useful return.
India’s opponent in the semi-final at Edgbaston was Bangladesh – a team fortunate to make it to the last four because of one outstanding partnership and strong teams like Australia and New Zealand not being able to perform to expectation either because of rain interference or due to an unexplainable lack of killer instinct.
The one great partnership that brought Bangladesh into semi-final contention was the match-winning 224-run fifth wicket stand between Shakib-Al-Hasan (114) and Mahmudullah (102 not out) against New Zealand at Cardiff. The two batsmen came together with Bangladesh at 33 for 4 after Southee had bowled a great opening spell. Australia’s loss at the hands of England ensured a semi-final berth for Bangladesh.
In the semi-final at Edgbaston, India’s batting rose to great heights by chasing and achieving a target of 265 with 9 wickets in hand and 9.5 overs to spare. Put into bat, Bangladesh scored 264 for 7 mainly due to a third wicket stand of 123 between Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61). An unbeaten second wicket stand of 178 between Rohit Sharma (123 not out) and Virat Kohli (96 not out) helped India win comfortably. Shikhar Dhawan scored 46.
England showed great consistency in its Group A matches – winning all three of them. They were the only side in the tournament to do so. On the opening day of the tournament, England defeated Bangladesh convincingly by 8-wicket at the Oval. England followed up this win with another fine 87-run win over New Zealand at Cardiff. In its final league match, England comprehensively defeated Australia at Edgbaston by 40 runs under the D/L method. England would have comfortably won the game any way.
Australia who were troubled by the weather lost a point each in its first two games. Its overall performance was disappointing. So were the performances of New Zealand and South Africa. Sri Lanka despite fielding a young side showed promise. Sri Lanka was outstanding when it successfully chased down India’s 321. Sri Lanka was also a little unfortunate to lose to Pakistan.
Pakistan, the ultimate champions, won this trophy for the first time in its maiden entry to the final. Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed earned the distinction of winning his second ICC tournament as Pakistan captain and that too defeating India on both occasions in the final.
The earlier occasion was the 2006 ICC under 19 finals in Sri Lanka. The Man Of The Match in the final was Fakhar Zaman while the Player Of The Tournament was Hassan Ali. The Golden Bat award for the highest rungetter went to Shikhar Dhawan (338 runs at 67.60) and the Gold Ball award for the highest wicket taker went to Hassan Ali, who took 13 wickets at an average of 13.60.
Hardik Pandya smashed a blistering 43-ball 76 studded with four fours and six sixes, before a massive mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja ended his innings.
Pakistanʼs Fakhar Zaman scored record 114 runs against India in the final match.
Mohammad Hafeez smashed a belligerent 37-ball 57 to provide the late impetus as Pakistan surged to 338 for 4 in its 50 overs.
Pakistan vows for strong showing against India after their defeat in first match.