Sports

Pakistan's path to Champions Trophy glory

Pakistan's path to Champions Trophy glory

Pakistan, ranked eight in the tournament, had opened the group stage campaign with a huge loss of 124 runs via Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method. They were eventually dismissed for 158 in reply to Pakistan's 4-338, which featured Fakhar Zaman's 114, the left-handed opener's maiden one-day worldwide hundred coming in just his fourth match at this level. We dusted ourselves off after the India defeat in Edgbaston and came back superbly.

India opener Shikhar Dhawan is the tournament's leading run scorer with 317 runs in four matches and will look to continue his momentum against Pakistan.

For a country that has not played global cricket at home against any top cricketing nation, the Champions Trophy triumph was necessary to "identify their heroes", feels Pakistan's chief coach Mickey Arthur. "Amir bowled brilliantly today but all my bowlers bowled really well".

Amir, once vilified for his role in the 2010 Pakistan spot-fixing scandal which led to him serving a prison term in London, was at his brilliant best when he produced a devastating opening spell.

TV footage showed some fans watching in Pakistan shedding tears of joy after India's batting order collapsed.

Fakhar rode his luck for a spellbinding 114, caught-behind from a no-ball on three and escaping a run-out chance with just a single to his name in Pakistan's total of 338-4 at The Oval.

It was then over to Amir, who quickly dispelled the predictions of many that India could pull off a tournament and ground-record run chase - in the process silencing the majority support in a sell-out crowd for this high-profile showdown as their team folded to 158 all out in 30.3 overs.

Actor Farhan Akhtar also congratulated Team Pakistan - adding that the green shirts were the better side. The former England batsman who seeks to play another year of T20 cricket around the world said Sarfraz Ahmed was a "street smart cricketer" and had the ability to match Kohli's passion.

Sarfraz Ahmed: Pakistan captain mobbed at home by jubilant fans
He appreciated collective team efforts for the scintillating win, adding that Pakistan Young guns proved their mettle. We have no hesitation or shame to admit we didn't play our best game today.

The victory ends India's hopes of becoming the first team to capture the title three times.

But that is not the nature of this exuberant young man. Hasan played his part too with three wickets, including the prized scalp of MS Dhoni and also helped with Pandya's run out. But just when it seemed that he was blazing towards a first worldwide century, he was run out after a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja.

Earlier, Fakhar made the most of an early reprieve after Kohli won the toss and sent Pakistan in on a typically good Oval pitch, with the sunny conditions seemingly ideal for batting.

However, in a complete mix up, Ali got run out at his individual score of 59.

But Pakistan veteran Mohammad Hafeez's quickfire 57 not out, including three sixes, took Pakistan well beyond 300.

World Cup- winning captain Imran Khan said the current Pakistan team have the potential to become a force in worldwide cricket even as he lamented the country lacks system to polish raw talent.

Fakhar then drove left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for six. Zaman hit in the air and Jadeja took a well judged catch running back from point.


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