A brilliant opening spell by Mohammad Amir followed by a near flawless performance in the field led to Pakistan taking the Champions Trophy with astonishing ease. They won by 180 runs against an India side widely tipped to prevail before the start.
Even after Pakistan had chalked up 338, which owed much to a barnstorming century from the new boy, Fakhar Zaman, there was still the feeling that the target was well within India’s compass, especially given Virat Kohli’s incredible record of scoring runs when chasing. But Amir, who had to miss the semi-final win over England because of back spasms, soon banished those thoughts with bowling of such quality that it conjured up memories of Wasim Akram in his pomp.
The classic in-swinger accounted for Rohit Sharma, who was lbw to Amir’s third ball. Out came Kohli. Soon the India captain pushed forward and edged to first slip where Azhar Ali juggled and dropped a straightforward catch. Azhar slapped the turf in exasperation and his team-mates were none too pleased either.
In came Amir again and this time Kohli spied runs on the leg side to rub salt into the wound but the ball took the leading edge and flew to backward point where Shadab Khan make no mistake. Jubilation was mixed with relief amid the celebrations of the Pakistan team. Soon to follow was Shikhar Dhawan edging a snorter to the keeper.
Summarized scores: Pakistan 338 for 4 (Zaman 114, Azhar 59, Hafeez 57*) beat India 158 (Pandya 76, Amir 3-16, Hasan 3-19) by 180 runs