Shocked silence reverberated across New Delhi on Sunday night following the historic upset by Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval in London.
An impressive 128-run opening stand between Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali helped Pakistan amass a mammoth 338-run total to comfortably overpower arch-rivals India by 180 runs to clinch the ICC Champions Trophy title at Kennington Oval on Sunday.
Fakhar Zaman’s maiden one-day global hundred helped Sarfraz’s side to post a formidable total of 338-4 before their opponents slumped to 158 all out in reply, Hardik Pandya’s 43-ball 76 sparing India from an even bigger humbling.
However after being set 339 to win, India slumped to 158 all out as Hasan Ali claimed three for 19 to spark wild celebrations and an unlikely win following a poor start to the competition.
The momentum remained with Pakistan as Mohammad Hafeez pummelled three sixes and four fours, putting on an unbroken 71 with Imad Wasim (25no) who enjoyed a remarkable slice of luck when a delivery from Bumrah bounced forcefully off his wicket without dislodging a bail.
But the rest of the much acclaimed Indian batting line-up staged a spectacular collapse and were reduced to 72/6 in the 17th over.
In Champions Trophy history, 2013 has been the only edition in which the team batting first won the final.
Their hopes now rested largely on the shoulders of Shikhar Dhawan who had been in fine form in the tournament but he made only 21 before nicking the inspired Amir to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
Apart from Zaman (114), Azhar Ali (59), Mohammad Hafeez (57 not out) and Babar Azam (46) also contributed handsomely to Pakistan’s cause.
But he only looked to be delaying the inevitable and a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja saw him run out for 76. They certainly played very good cricket. “I’m so happy for the nation of Pakistan who have been waiting for this for a long time”. Everyone will remember this achievement, not just for today or tomorrow but for a long, long time in Pakistan cricket.
Zaman’s brilliant innings to smash a fearless 114 so almost did not happen when he was reprieved by a no ball from Jasprit Bumrah after being caught behind on three, in the fourth over.
In a match which saw Virat Kohli and his boys fail miserably in all three departments of fielding, bowling and batting, it was Hardik Pandya who nearly spearheaded a resurgence by scoring the fastest half-century in the history of ICC tournaments finals, even beating Adam Gilchrist’s record.
Lastly, with no Champions Trophy action, it would allow the ICC to continue accommodating the World Twenty20 every two years. Credit goes to my batsmen, my bowlers and the team management.
Shadab picked up his second wicket when Kedar Jadhav, on nine, gave Sarfraz a simple catch and India appeared to be crumbling meekly at 72 for six.
Under Sarfraz Ahmed’s captaincy, Pakistan beat South Africa and Sri Lanka in the remaining group matches before surprising host England in the semifinals.