A maiden ODI century by Fakhar Zaman and a breath-taking spell of new ball bowling by fast bowler Mohammad Amir helped Pakistan crush arch-rivals India in the final at The Oval on Sunday as they lifted the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time.
India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted for bowl first, but his decision back-fired as the Men in Green took full advantage of the perfect batting conditions by posting a mammoth 339-run target in their allotted 50 overs.
The star of the show was young opener Fakhar, who scored a whirlwind 114 off just 106 balls with the help of 12 fours and three sixes.
He was well-supported by fellow opener Azhar Ali (59) and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez (57 not out), who contributed timely half-centuries.
Chasing a record 339 to defend their title, India were rocked early, thanks to fiery spell by Amir, who claimed the Men in Blues’ first three wickets in his opening five overs.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya gave a glimmer of hope to Kohli’s men with a quick-fire 76 off 43 laced with six massive sixes, but it was not enough as Sarfraz Ahmed’s men defeated their rivals by 180 runs to lift the trophy.
Zaman was awarded man of the match for his outstanding batting performance, whereas Hasan Ali was named the best bowler of the tournament.
Who said what:
Sarfraz Ahmed: Credit goes to boys and team management. We had a young team. We arrived with the mindset that we had nothing to lose. They didn’t recognize Pakistan anywhere but now we are champions. It is a proud moment for the whole nation.
Virat Kohli: I want to congratulate Pakistan. The way they turned thinsg around, speaks volume about the talent they have. They had to earn their win. We gave our best; they were just more passionate. Credit goes to them for doing good in all three departments. All said and done, we need to move forward. We didn’t play well today, we’ll take that on the chin and move on.
Mohammad Hafeez: Platform was there. We wanted to go 300+. I just went out there to hit the ball hard. Winning the tournament is great. We wanted to inspire our country. We are very happy to do this for our team.
Muhammad Amir: This is a team performance. The way we came back in South Africa was great.
Imad Wasim: It is unbelievable. After the first game we were down and out but we sat down and said that we have to make a comeback. It is not any upset. We beat four great teams in the world.
Shoaib Malik: I would like to congratulate Pakistan. I hope this will unite us more. We were not nervous before the match. Youngsters were looking up to us, so we had to stay calm.
Mickey Arthur: We’ve got a group of young players who are fantastic. We need to keep the momentum going. The next two years, we want to grow more, that is the aim.
Azhar Mahmood: He’s got a big heart. He runs in and wants to take wickets. Fakhar is brilliant. He put pressure on the opposition. If you got a players like him, you can do anything.