A highly motivated Pakistan crushed their arch-rivals India by 180 runs to lift their first-ever ICC Champions Trophy at the Oval.
By the time Sarfraz took the final catch, off the bowling of the tournament's leading wicket-taker Hasan Ali, who finished yesterday with 3-19 and the Champions Trophy with 13 wickets, there was barely an Indian fan to witness it.
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Leading the batting for the young Pakistan side - which had fallen easily to India by 124 runs in a group stage match on June 6 - was 27-year-old Fakhar Zaman who recorded his maiden century in only his fourth global innings. Azam (46), Mohammad Hafeez (57 not out) and Imad Wasim (25 not out) then made sure Pakistan reached the insurmountable total. The fact remained that a fully red-hot Pakistan team, the sentimental favourites for all that they are going through for inability to play at home, was the better team on the day and deserved to win the tournament.
India was asked to produce the highest successful run chase in Trophy history, and had the weapons to do it.
Just two weeks ago, Pakistan were at a low ebb after crashing to a humiliating 124-run defeat against India in the group stage. Zaman (114), playing his first ODI against India and fourth overall, went after the bowlers trying to play the inside-out shots. Credit to Pakistan. They outplayed us.
But Pakistan batsman Hafeez says his teammates vowed to stick together despite the avalanche of criticism and they reaped the rewards in memorable fashion on Sunday. India were the lopsided favorites to win a record third Trophy in a record fourth final, but Pakistan blew away all predictions and expectations with a win of stunning ease.
Virender Sehwag defends Sarfraz Ahmed amid English faux pas
Lending support, even Sehwag who is known to never mince his words on the trending issues has raised his voice over this. Summary: Hasan, however, asked the fans to back team India in hard times.
Later in the innings, Hardik Pandya, who put some resistance with a quick-fire 76 off 43 balls, was run out in the 27th over, thus, bringing an end to a famed Indian batting line-up.
Kohli's dismissal for five following a golden run in the tournament prompted gloom among the India supporters. The way they turned things around, it was incredible.
"We give our best every time we go out on the field, and I'm really proud of the way the team has played in this tournament".
"The way he batted today and the way he bowled and the way he fielded, that's exactly why we back him, because he can be the match-winner for us in situations where the team is in trouble", said Kohli.
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