Pakistan thrash India to clinch maiden Champions Trophy

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Pakistan thrash India to clinch maiden Champions Trophy

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SportsCafe Desk


An all-around Pakistan romped past India defeating the men in blue by 180 runs to win their first Champions Trophy title courtesy blistering bowling performances by Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali. Earlier, Fakhar Zaman(114) and Mohammad Hafeez(58) powered Pakistan to a colossal score of 338.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 338/4 (Fakhar Zaman 114, Azhar Ali 59; Kedar Jadhav 1/27, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/44) beat India 158/10 (Hardik Pandya 76; Mohammad Amir 3/16, Hasan Ali 3/19) by 180 runs. 

The first battle of the final was won by India as Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl first owing to India's splendid record while chasing. With the pitch expecting to provide a hint of swing early on, India took the field with the same team as the one that had decimated Bangladesh in the semi-final. Pakistan, however, made one change with the fully-fit Mohammad Amir returning to the team in place of Rumman Raees.

Zaman and Azhar put India on the backfoot

Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the proceedings with the ball for India and gave his side the perfect start by bowling a maiden first over. India seemed to be heading towards a dream start when the in-form Fakhar Zaman nicked a Jasprit Bumrah delivery to MS Dhoni behind the stumps at 3. However, India’s celebrations did not last as replays showed Bumrah overstepping while bowling the wicket taking delivery. After a nervy start, Zaman and Azhar Ali both started battering the Indian bowlers to get into a fluent rhythm. Virat Kohli’s ploy to bring Ravichandran Ashwin early move backfired as Ashwin was smashed for ten runs in his very first over .Zaman and Ali consistently kept hitting boundaries and ensured Pakistan finish the first powerplay at 56/0. The Pakistani duo then kept rotating strike while dismissing the bad deliveries to the boundaries and reached a landmark partnership of 86*, the highest opening run-stand for Pakistan against India in an ICC event. Zaman continued attacking the bowlers, while Ali kept the scoreboard ticking. Shortly after both the batsman reached fifty, Pakistan side suffered their first loss in form of Azhar Ali who was stranded on the same side as Zaman before being run-out. The wicket was followed by a couple of tight overs that saw Pakistan reach the halfway mark of the innings at 134-1.

Zaman’s ton and Hafeez’s cameo powers Pakistan to 338

Azhar Ali’s wicket did not perturb Zaman who clobbered Ravindra Jadeja for 16 runs in the following over to once again force India on the backfoot. Zaman’s explosive batting ensured that the run-rate did not fall below 6 rpo. The left-hander kept on pounding the Indian bowlers to reach his first-ever 100-run mark in the ODIs. Hardik Pandya came to India’s rescue when they desperately needed a breakthrough as he sent the lethal Zaman packing for 114. However, the wicket did not slow down the pace of the Pakistan innings who were on a scoring spree today. Virat Kohli was once again forced to bring Kedar Jadhav into the attack as Ashwin and Jadeja failed miserably. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then got India their next breakthrough when his short delivery sent a dangerous looking Shoaib Malik back to the dressing room. Jadhav scalped his third wicket of the tournament when he dismissed a set Babar Azam at 46 to pull the Pakistani innings behind by a speck. However, the incoming Mohammad Hafeez came with a licence to kill and did the same as he went about smashing the Indian bowlers from the outset of his innings to get to his fifty from 34 deliveries. The Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah then stepped up to the occasion and bowled brilliantly in the death overs to restrict Pakistan to 338 who at one moment seem to be cruising towards a total past 350.

Pakistan tear apart the Indian batting

Chasing 339, India were expected to come out all guns blazing with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan spearheading India’s chase. However, the successful Indian duo could not replicate their performance in the last match and Rohit Sharma fell prey to a nipping Mohammad Amir delivery to take a long walk back to the dressing room in the very first over. Amir’s next victim was Indian skipper Virat Kohli who edged a delivery to Shadab Khan to put India in a spot of bother in the 3rd over. Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh then tried to rebuild the crumbling Indian batting and did well until Dhawan became Amir’s third wicket of the game in the 9th over. IIndia finished the first powerplay at 47-3 and an uphill task of scoring 292 runs at 7.3 rpo laid ahead of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. However, the duo was not able to survive under the weight of the pressure and bowed out in the 13th and 14th over respectively. Jadhav soon followed in the 17th over to leave India needing a miracle to chase the mammoth total of 339 with more than half of the side back in the dressing room.

Pandya attacks but in vain

The Indian fans praying for a miracle found some hope in Pandya who was smacking the ball sweetly and looked in great control. Pandya smashed Shadab Khan for 23 runs in an over and reached his fifty in just 32 deliveries to helped India reach 137-6 at the midway mark. However, a mix up between Pandya and Jadeja saw the right-hander taking an exit from the field and India’s feat was then sealed. Shortly after Pandya’s wicket, Jadeja edged a Junaid Khan delivery to slips followed by Ravichandran Ashwin who nicked the ball behind to Sarfraz Ahmed. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar then made Pakistan wait for their first title but eventually submitted to the commendable Pakistani bowling who led their side to a 180-run victory to seal the match and the 2017 Champions Trophy title. 

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