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PAKISTAN ZINDABAD



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Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman celebrates reaching his 100 during the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on June 18, 2017.

 Rex Clementine in London


It wasn’t clear how much money Pakistan will give away after they clinched their biggest cricket trophy in 25 years, but at least half of their prize money of US$ 2.2 million should be written in favour of Narangoda Liyanaarachchilage Chirantha Thisara Perera with a thank you card. Eighth ranked Pakistan had no hopes in this competition and their campaign was done and dusted when they slumped to 162 for seven chasing 237 in the virtual quarter-final against Sri Lanka last week. Then that dropped catch and the tournament was turned upside down. This tournament taught us one big lesson - write off Pakistan at your own peril. They put up a master class against arch-rivals India yesterday to complete a comprehensive 180 run win in the 2017 Champions Trophy final here at The Oval in London.


It was Pakistan’s first major cricket title since they won the ICC World Cup in 1992 in Melbourne.


Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed (3rd R) lifts the trophy as Pakistan players celebrate their win at the presentation after the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on June 18, 2017. Pakistan thrashed title-holders India by 180 runs to win the Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday.

Despite the anti-climax end to the final, the ICC would have made a kill in terms of television revenue as an India versus Pakistan game, leave alone a final, fetches them the highest profits. Now that Perera’s chance of making a return for Sri Lanka all but gone, the ICC should also share portion of their revenue to the Sri Lankan all-rounder, who once coach Graham Ford told us reminded him of former South African great Lance Klusener.


The openers had given Pakistan good starts in their last two games and it was important to make an early breakthrough and Jasprit Bumrah provided exactly that in the fourth over of the morning when he had Fakhar Zaman caught behind. But the bowler had overstepped and that proved to be a turning point in the game.


Fakhar, who is employed by Pakistan Navy went onto smash his maiden ODI hundred and added 128 runs for the first wicket with Azhar Ali. Fakhar reached his century off 92 balls when he swept R. Ashwin for four.


Leading into the 40th over, Pakistan were 246 for two and the stage was set for a big total. They went onto pile up a massive 338 as Azhar and Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with half-centuries.


Left-arm quick Mohammad Amir had missed the semi-final against England due to back spasms. Even on the flattest of wickets, he is too clever a bowler to not to make himself count. Amir put Pakistan firmly in control with a memorable piece of swing bowling. He nailed Rohit Sharma plumb in front in the first over, squared up Virat Kohli and had him caught at point after being dropped in the previous ball to reduce India to six for two.


It was redemption for Amir in London, the city where seven years ago he was caught for spot fixing and was banned for five years. He bowled a fiery opening spell of six overs and accounted for Shikhar Dhawan too. His first spell figures were 6-2-16-3 and it was game over for India with so much quality bowling to follow.


 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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