A dominant Pakistan ride on a brilliant all-round team effort to spank India by 180 runs in the summit clash to win their maiden Champions Trophy on Sunday
Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed jumps into the arms of Pakistan's Imad Wasim after he catches India's MS Dhoni during the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on Sunday. Pic/AFP
London: An inspired Pakistan hammered a blundering India by 180 runs to lift the ICC Champions Trophy, riding on a scintillating hundred from rookie opener Fakhar Zaman and a sensational bowling spell from Mohammad Amir.
This is Pakistan's first ICC title triumph since their 2009 World Twenty20 win but more importantly it broke the jinx of not performing against India in big ticket matches.
For a team that can't play international cricket at home due to security issues, the victory has far-reaching implications.
If Zaman announced his arrival in international cricket with a match-defining knock, Pakistan cricket's 'enfant terrible' Amir finally managed to sing a redemption song that he has been longing for. It was a charged-up performance from Sarfraz Ahmed's underdog team with left-handed opener Zaman, after a lucky reprieve, scoring a pulsating 114 in their imposing 338 for 4.
Amir (6-2-16-3) then tormented the Indian batsmen with a devastating first spell and eventually the defending champions were bundled out for 158 in only 30.3 overs.
The match turned out to be one of the most nightmarish under Virat Kohli's captaincy. It was a match where everything went awry for the 'Men in Blue' from the time Kohli went out for the toss.
On a flat deck, Kohli surprised everyone opting to field, a decision prompted by the current team's ability to chase any target.
It started on a wrong note when a beautiful delivery from Jasprit Bumrah was nicked by an edgy Zaman only to be called no-ball due to overstepping. Zaman scored a ton. The two spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (0/70 in 10 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (0/67 in 8 overs) were then taken to the task with not a single wicket-taking delivery being bowled by the duo.
With no assistance from the pitch, their limitations were thoroughly exposed against batsmen, who were ready to use their feet.
The 'Law of Averages' were certainly going to catch up with India¿s 'Big Three' after their brilliant run in the tournament. Worse, it happened in the final. Rohit Sharma (0), Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Virat Kohli (5) were snuffed out by Amir in a devastating first spell with three brilliant deliveries. The fate of the match was sealed.
Hardik Pandya smashed 76 off 43 balls, hit half a dozen of sixes to provide some entertainment, before being run-out due to a horrible mix-up with Jadeja. Pandya was livid but he was only delaying the inevitable.
As the final wicket fell, Oval, immersed in a 'Sea of Green', was euphoric in its celebration along with those eleven on the field.
The victory was achieved by one of the most de-glamorous outfit under one of the most unassuming captains in the history of Pakistan cricket -- Sarfraz -- and he deserved it more than anyone else for showing the composure one expects from model captains.
Earlier, India were set a stiff 339-run target to retain the Champions Trophy title as Pakistan put on a splendid batting display to score 338 for four in the summit clash.
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman (114) hit his maiden ODI hundred after being caught off a no-ball in the innings' fourth over, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah.
Azhar Ali (59), Mohammed Hafeez (57) and Babar Azam (46) also played solid to prop up the Pakistan innings.
None of the Indian bowlers, except Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/44), could trouble the Pakistani batsmen after Virat Kohli opted to bowl even as the UP pacer was also taken to cleaners towards the end.
Pakistan : 338 for four in 50 overs. (Fakhar Zaman 114, Azhar Ali 59, Mohammed Hafeez 57, Babar Azam 46; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/44)
India: 158 all out in 30.3 overs. (H Pandya 76, Yuvraj Singh 22; Mohammed Amir 3/16, Hassan Ali 3/19)