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Pakistan smash India to win maiden ICC Champions Trophy
Soumitra Bose, London:
A fearsome burst of pace bowling from Mohammad Amir consigned India to a horror 180-run defeat at The Oval on Sunday as Pakistan won their maiden ICCChampions Trophy title with plenty to spare. (HIGHLIGHTS|SCORECARD)
Chasing Pakistan’s 338 for four, India went down without a fight as the defending champions lost three in-form batsmen in the first nine overs. Hasan ‘bomber’ Ali took three wickets for 19 to polish off the Indian tail. Pakistan won with 117 balls to spare.
Hardik Pandya’s 43-ball 76 was the lonebright spot in India’s batting, but his run out gave Pakistan an easy passage to victory.
Mohammad Amir, who reported fit just intime for the mouth-watering final, wipedout the top order with clever use of the seam and length as Pakistan attacked like a pack of hungry dogs.
Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman scored 114 in the ICC Champions Trophy final against India.
On Saturday morning, the Indians were practising ‘banana’ freekicks. On Sunday, Mohammad Amir literally bent the ball like Beckham to catch Rohit Sharma plumb in front of the wicket and then got the better of an indiscreet Virat Kohli.
Kohli had been preaching the message of composure throughout the Champions Trophy but on a big day, the captain lost control even after enjoying a life the previous ball.When Azhar Ali spilled a regulation catch after Kohli edged Amir to first slip, Pakistan’s heart sank. Did Pakistan drop their first ICC Champions Trophy?
Kohli did not learn from his mistake. To Amir’s credit, he bowled the next ball cross-seam and pitched just back of length. Kohli’s mistimed flick went to backward point.
If Kohli’s wicket gave Pakistan resolve, Amir found the edge of Shikhar Dhawan’s tentative bat to add extra belief. The wicket also exposed India’s untested middle order.
India lost Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in the space of four balls. Yuvraj looked good for his 31-ball 22 but leg-spinner Shahdab Khan won an LBW decision via the TV umpire. Dhoni too lost composure, pulling Hasan Ali to deep square leg.
India captain Virat Kohli after his team lost to Pakistan by 180 runs in the ICC Champions Trophy final. (AP)Imad Wasim’s diving catch at deep square leg reflected Pakistan’s eagerness to play good cricket. They never lost control even after Pandya launched into their spinners. After Junaid Khan got rid of Ravindra Jadeja, it was just a matter of time.
Earlier, Fakhar Zaman’s maiden ODI hundred (114) and his 128-run opening wicket stand with Azhar Ali helped Pakistan pile on a formidable 338 for four wickets.A classy fifty by Azhar Ali (59), Babar Azam’s 46 and Mohammad Hafeez’s cavalier 57 not out off 37 balls added muscle to the Pakistan innings.
Fakhar Zaman stood out with his cavalierknock after enjoying a huge slice of luck when on 3. He had edged an expansive drive to the keeper, but Jasprit Bumrah had bowled a no ball. That came to hurt India in a game where the margin of error was virtually nil.