Pakistan, entering the tournament ranked eighth out of the eight teams, stunned arch-rivals India on Sunday to win the 2017 International Cricket Council Champions Trophy final by 180 runs at Kia Oval in London, England. A spectacular bowling attack easily defended a solid total of 338, bowling out India inside of 31 overs for just 158.
“It’s a great team effort. After losing the first game we were nowhere,” said batsman Mohammad Hafeez who recorded 57 not out after India won the toss and inserted their rivals.
“I’m really happy for all of Pakistan because they’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. It’s a great day, I’m so happy.”
Leading the batting for the young Pakistan side — which had fallen easily to India by 124 runs in a group stage match on June 6 — was 27-year-old Fakhar Zaman who recorded his maiden century in only his fourth international innings. Zaman’s 114 off of 106 balls earned him the Man of the Match award in the final.
The victory, and its relative ease over an India team that not only had got the better of Pakistan in one-day matches for the past decade, winning 12 and losing only eight — and winning four of the last five since 2013 — stunned cricket fans and experts, especially coming from a Pakistan team that has played only one international series in its home country since a 2009 terrorist attack forced them to adopt the United Arab Emirates as their home turf.
“If there’s been a more improbable Pakistan triumph than this, it’s yet to be written,” said Osman Samiuddin, author of a definitive book on Pakistan cricket, The Unquiet Ones.
Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali took three wickets, including the final wicket of Jasprit Bumrah caught by Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed, and went on to win the tournament’s Golden Ball award at the top bowler throughout the competition.
India Captain Virat Kohli said that his team would “take (the defeat) on the chin and move on.”
“Congratulations to Pakistan. The way they turned things around, it was amazing,” Kohli said. “They can upset anyone on their day. I have a smile on my face because I am very proud of the boys. Credit to Pakistan. They outplayed us. They were more intense and more passionate.”
But Pakistan skipper Ahmed said that his team never lost confidence even after the drubbing by India to open the Champions Trophy tournament.
“After the India match I said to my boys, the tournament is not finished yet. We played very well and know we have won the final,” Ahmed said.
The final margin of 180 runs was the largest run victory by either Pakistan or India in head-to-head One day International matches, and the largest margin of defeat for a full ICC member in a Champions Trophy competition.
Pacer Mohammad Amir also starred with the ball in Sunday’s final, taking a trio of wickets while Shadab Khan added two more and Junaid Khan took one. The Pakistan bowling corps engineered a spectacular collapse of India’s top order, sending Rohit Sharma, Kohli and tournament high-scorer Shikhar Dhawan back to the dressing room within the first 15 overs.
Only Hardik Panya put together a significant innings for India with 76 off of 43 balls, but after the top three combined for only 26 — including Sharma’s first-over duck — India would need far more to make the game competitive.
[Featured Image By Gareth Copley/Getty Images]