London: Pakistan lived up to the Champions Trophy tag, which says "where heroes becomes champions". After being thrashed by defending champions India in the Group B opener, Sarfraz Ahmad’s men outplayed India in the final to snatch the coveted trophy.
Answering a query from Gulf News whether Eid has come early for the Pakistan team, a proud and smiling coach Mickey Arthur, who orchestrated the team’s victory said: “Yeah, I suppose so, it has come early.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad then said: “Hopefully, this win every-one will remember, not today, not tomorrow, very long, long time. Credit goes to my team management. They worked really hard after the first defeat. They motivated us. They put on hard work because when we arrived here, we were No. 8, and now we are the champions. This win will boost Pakistan cricket and, hopefully, all playing nations will come to Pakistan.”
Ahmad then hailed his youngsters.
“After the India [group] match I said to my boys, the tournament is not finished yet. Fakhar Zaman is a great impact player and in his first ICC event, he played like a champion.
"He can become a great player for Pakistan. All credit goes to my bowlers — Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hafeez. They bowled really well. It’s a young team, credit goes to my boys. We played like we had nothing to lose, now we are champions. It’s a proud moment for me and my country, and thanks to the fans for supporting us.”
Kohli: We did our best
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, when asked whether with such a strong batting line-up, did his batsmen throw away their wickets.
“Players, as well, individually, everyone wants to go out there and do well. No one goes out there to throw their wicket away or get out. We give our best every time we go out on the field, and I’m really proud of the way the team has played in this tournament.
“The cricket is played between two teams. There’s no one team on the box, so you have to accept losses, you have to accept that the other team has outplayed you and they’ve shown better skill than you, they’ve shown better composure in pressure situations than you.
Indian batting crumbles
“Yes, we have shown the composure in pressure situations most often in this tournament, but that is no guarantee that you’re going to do it every time. Obviously, your best effort is to try and do it every time, but cricket is not about doing well in every game that you play. You will have failures, and one team has to lose on the day, and today was our day to lose because the opposition played much better than us.”
Kohli went on to even say that he has no shame in admitting his team did not play at their best and praised the Pakistan team. “I said, credit to the opposition. They’ve also come to express their skill and win a cricket game, and they certainly did. They had to own their win. They made us make those mistakes because of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field, as well, and we have no hesitations or shame to admit that we could not play our best game today.”
On the field, Pakistan did at the Oval what the Indians did to them in the group stage match at Edgbaston.
After rising up from their whipping at Edgbaston, the Pakistan players scaled to great heights in determination to win the Champions Trophy, which has always eluded them.
India’s batting, considered the strongest, crumbled before the Pakistan bowlers led by Amir, who wiped away the cream of the Indian batting with three wickets, followed by Hasan Ali with three wickets and Shadab Khan with two more, to bowl India out for 158 in 30.3 overs.
It was Pakistan’s day at the Oval. Put in to bat, Pakistan piled up 338 for 4, riding on 27-year-old Fakhar Zaman’s century and his 128 runs opening partnership with Azhar Ali in 22.6 overs.
Playing only in his fourth One Day International, Zaman cracked 114 in 106 balls with 12 boundaries and three sixes. The in-form and consistent Ali hit 59 off 71 balls with six fours and one six.
Based on the platform provided by their openers, Babar Zaman cracked 46 off 52 balls with four boundaries and added 72 runs in just 10.1 overs for the second wicket.
Though the next batsman Shoaib Malek lasted only 16 balls to score 12 runs, he too added 47 runs in 6.3 overs maintaining the run rate of over seven runs. Pakistan sailed past the 300-run mark through Mohammad Hafeez’s unbeaten 57 off 37 balls with four boundaries and three sixes.
Scoreboard on Sunday in the Champions Trophy final between Pakistan and India at The Oval:
Azhar Ali run out 59
Fakhar Zaman c Jadeja b Pandya 114
Babar Azam c Singh b Jadhav 46
Shoaib Malik c Jadhav b Kumar 12
Mohammad Hafeez not out 57
Imad Wasim not out 25
Extras: (9lb, 13w, 3nb) 25
TOTAL: (for 4 wickets) 338
Did not bat: Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan.
Fall of wickets: 1-128, 2-200, 3-247, 4-267
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10-2-44-1, Jasprit Bumrah 9-0-68-0, Ravichandran Ashwin 10-0-70-0, Hardik Pandya 10-0-53-1, Ravindra Jadeja 8-0-67-0, Kedar Jadhav 3-0-27-1.
Rohit Sharma lbw b Amir 0
Shikhar Dhawan c Ahmed b Amir 21
Virat Kohli c Shadab b Amir 5
Yuvraj Singh lbw b Shadab 22
Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Wasim b Hasan 4
Kedar Jadhav c Ahmed b Shadab 9
Hardik Pandya run out 76
Ravindra Jadeja c Azam b Junaid 15
Ravichandran Ashwin s Ahmed b Hasan 1
Bhuvneshwar Kumar not out 1
Jasprit Bumrah c Ahmed b Hasan 1
Extras: (2lb, 1w) 3
TOTAL: (all out) 158
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-6, 3-33, 4-54, 5-54, 6-72, 7-152, 8-156, 9-156, 10-158
Bowling: Mohammad Amir 6-2-16-3, Junaid Khan 6-1-20-1, Mohammad Hafeez 1-0-13-0, Hasan Ali 6.3-1-19-3, Shadab Khan 7-0-60-2, Imad Wasim 0.3-0-3-0, Fakhar Zaman 3.3-0-25-0.
Result: Pakistan wins by 180 runs
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, South Africa, and Richard Kettleborough, England.
TV umpire: Rod Tucker, Australia. Match referee: David Boon, Australia.