India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, final, The Oval June 18, 2017

New champions: Zaman, Amir and Pakistan raze India for title


Pakistan 338 for 4 (Zaman 114, Azhar 59, Hafeez 57*) beat India 158 (Pandya 76, Amir 3-16, Hasan 3-19) by 180 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Tait: Pakistan save their best for last

If the 2017 Champions Trophy were to have had another two games, Pakistan might be scoring 750 and bowling teams out for negative 12 by the end of it. Even for a side that is routinely unpredictable, even for a team with a long history of starting slowly then making a white-hot charge through a tournament, what Pakistan have pulled off here is some diamond-studded, galactic-scale nonsense.

They have not just defied logic, they have spat in logic's face, questioned the moral inclinations of its parents, kicked it in the shins, kneed it in the groin, strangled it unconscious, then shoved it into the mud and set its trousers on fire.

Remember how, before the match (how long ago that now seems), the cricket world thought India's batsmen would put the match beyond Pakistan if they scored 300? Ha. What actually happened was that newbie opener Fakhar Zaman, playing his fourth international innings, hit 114 from 106 balls in one of the highest-pressure cricket matches of the decade, before a bristling middle order grew the total to 338 for 4, with the kind of power and skill which not even their mothers would have suspected they possessed.

Remember how the cricket world thought the key period in the contest would be the middle overs in India's innings? In actual fact, Mohammad Amir would decapitate the India innings in a scintillating opening burst that brought him the scalps of each of the top three, and then by the middle of the 14th over, India would be 54 for 5, the trophy basically handed over.

Thank the cricket gods that Azhar Ali dropped Virat Kohli at slip in the third over, before Kohli was caught the very next ball. Thank heavens that Pakistan's opening stand of 128 was brought to an end by a running mix-up, whereby both batsmen wound up on the same side of the pitch. Without such moments of incompetence, there is no chance we could plausibly accept this is the same side that lost their opening match to India by 124 runs.

The winning margin here was 180, just for the record. But it may as well have been 180 million, so ridiculous were Pakistan in this match.

It was also impossible, at times, to believe that India were the side playing their fourth major final in six years. The first mistake - the error that bust open the flood gates - was Jasprit Bumrah overstepping in the fourth over to reprieve Fakhar, who had edged the ball to the keeper on three. Soon, India were a mess of uncharacteristic misfields. By the end of the innings they had delivered 13 wides and three no-balls.

And perhaps no top order in the world could have survived Amir today, but the likes of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni - big-daddy, big-match players - fell away with surprising meekness. Hardik Pandya swatted six sixes off spin and got himself 76 off 43 balls, giving India - six down now - a microscopic speck of hope. But then he was run out when a less-fluent Ravindra Jadeja refused to sacrifice his wicket. Pandya left the field breathing fire. That about encapsulated India's day.

Not that fortune smiled on them either: at one point, in the death overs, a ball had even hit Mohammad Hafeez's off stump, and failed to dislodge the bail.

Beyond Amir's spectacular opening burst - in which Rohit Sharma was trapped in front by a seaming ball and Virat Kohli sent a thick leading edge to point - Shadab Khan insisted on an excellent review that found Yuvraj to be plumb in front of the stumps. Then after the rapid 80-run stand between Pandya and Jadeja, Hasan Ali wiped out the tail, finishing with match-figures of 3 for 19 (second only to Amir's 3 for 16), and a table-topping haul of 13 wickets for the tournament. This, after he had missed the first game. India were all out in the 31st over.

Hasan Ali was Named Player of the tournament © Getty Images

But it was the batting that had set Pakistan's victory up, and of all the surprises they have sprung this tournament, a snowballing innings such as this, in which only one batsman was dismissed for a score of less than 45, seems the most incredible. This was not an innings, really. It was a fantasy.

Even after Fakhar was reprieved by that no-ball in the fourth over, the wisps of madness that have defined Pakistan's campaign were sprinkled right through his knock. Thick edges and mistimed shots off bouncers would become almost reliably fruitful for him - one particularly woeful leg-side heave in the 32nd over landing safe, just beyond midwicket. Constantly, Fakhar got himself into awkward spots and bad positions, and unfailingly, he would find a way to go through with the shot, and survive.

But there were also flashes of inspiration and the roaring ambition of Pakistan's campaign. Uncowed by the near misses, he ran down the pitch to smite India's quicks to the leg side. He flitted about his crease to manufacture shots against the spinners. With no little help from Azhar, he heaped pressure on key members of the opposition attack.

Bumrah was never allowed to recover from the shock of that early missed wicket, going for 24 in his first three-over spell, and 12 off the following two overs. R Ashwin was clattered around almost clinically in his initial spell - this mostly by Azhar - and he went for 28 from his first four overs as well. For the remainder of the innings, both bowlers struggled with their lines and lengths - Bumrah delivering too many hittable length deliveries, Ashwin bowling too predictably straight.

It was after Azhar's dismissal, for which his partner can take most of the blame, that Fakhar raised the tempo to an extent that set Pakistan on track to their eventual score. He hit 15 runs off one Jadeja over (the 26th of the innings), then went after Ashwin next over as well. Having been 56 off 73 balls at one stage, he hit the remaining 44 runs he needed for a hundred off the next 19 balls. The off-balance sweep for four off Ashwin was a fitting way for this innings to go to triple figures.

Fakhar was out soon after, leaving Pakistan at 200 for 2 at the start of the 34th over, but Babar ensured the party would carry on. He was regal square on either side of the wicket, and in a particularly memorable sequence, slapped Pandya past point, then cracked him to the square-leg boundary next ball. Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim then took the baton from Babar, and together, added 71 off the final 45 balls of the innings - Hafeez especially effective as he hit three sixes and four fours in all, to wind up with an unbeaten 57 off 37 deliveries.

I mean, who even knew Hafeez was capable of such things? Did he? Sarfraz Ahmed, in his first major assignment as captain, played his part virtually perfectly, ceding his batting position to men who went on to score rapidly, then managing his bowlers astutely in the early overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Hardik Pandya delivered good spells, but India's remaining bowling figures did not make for pretty reading. Bumrah, Ashwin and Jadeja all went at seven an over or higher.

There is no shame, though, in losing to a Pakistan side in the kind of nuclear form that if ever harnessed, could solve the planet's energy needs for centuries. There were a few areas that India could have brushed up, but nothing, perhaps, that might have changed the result.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sharjeel Khan Mansoori on July 1, 2017, 3:13 GMT

    people call this Pakistan weak ODI outfit but amazingly this weak team has completed the 3 crown set . world cup . world T20 and champions trophy . Pakistan has also won test series in every country bar south Africa and Australia. won ODI in South Africa . won the only test championship that comprised 3 teams Asian test championship.

  • Jawwad on June 24, 2017, 4:39 GMT

    Pakistan not only beat India but they thrashed them. Before that it was England. On their way they man handled South Africa. They had consecutive 100 runs opening partnerships to suggest a decent batting. Bowling was so good it brought Wasim Waqar memories back. These are the trademarks of the best team and deserved to become the champions. For all the loses and humiliation to India in previous tournaments, this will rank as the best payback one has ever witnessed. The monkey is off the back for good. Thank you for watching and have a great summer.

  • Ameer on June 21, 2017, 8:52 GMT

    ***Sincere Congratulations to #Sarfraz & his Men***Life is full of surprises and coincidences. 7 years ago in England he was behind bars and after serving 6 months jail term we saw him crying in front of English media and Scot land yards investigators. He came back home accepted his mistake but deep down in hearts every body felt, he was trapped badly. We saw Michael Holding cried for him, after long trial he was banned for 5 long terrible years when he was on song and at the peek of his game. He attended all required courses and O boy the story is too long, I am unable to cover all of that here but WAO A fallen hero of 2010, took the revenge in 2017. yeah it was a revenge.. Don't play with some ones emotions, talent, career, life and love. Story of Mohammed Amir proved that will of a real man can defeat everything. For him it was more than a win, I am sure. No body can describe this HERO's feeling at the moment. His story is a lesson for us all "NEVER GIVE UP". You're a gem of #Champ

  • sayed on June 20, 2017, 23:04 GMT

    CONGRATULATIONS TO PAKISTAN! PAK totally dominated and outclassed India.This PAK victory over India will be remembered for a long time. Fakhar Zaman scored a brilliant quickfire 100. Zaman looks like a left handed Andre Russell. Zaman's power hitting was just crazy. Babar Azam and Azhar Ali played slow and steady and scored 46 and 59 respectively. And finally Hafeez blasted quickfire 57 to help PAK pile up 338/4. PAK bowled well but to be honest India were way too overconfident. One BIG knock was needed from either Rohit or Shikhar or Kohli or Yuvi or Dhoni. But India's overconfident batting line got bundled out for 158. One can argue that India should have opted to bat first. But they would have lost anyway becoz India was overconfident. 339 could have been chased in 45 overs by the Indian batting giants. But their overconfidence brought their own downfall.

  • zubzba7412933 on June 20, 2017, 22:05 GMT

    I have a message for Sehwag, i want him to tell us all

  • Ali Asghar on June 20, 2017, 17:58 GMT

    When you are facing fired-up Pakistani fast bowlers, you can't do anything even if you are the world's best batting line up, forget the pitch, forget the weather, and Sehwag and other Indian legends fired them up with numerous bashings on social media, The bowlers then turned the highway-like track with sunny weather into seaming and bouncy track in overcast conditions..absolute brilliant to watch, they way they made every opposition's batsman dancing on their tune, since the first lost, and with batsman improving with every game, there was no power in the cricketing world that could have defeated Pakistan in such mindset. They have rolled over consecutively 3 teams in blue! Brilliantly done, men in greens. Pakistan Zindabad! #bleed_Green

  • Imran on June 20, 2017, 9:56 GMT

    Congrats Pak Team .. A well deserved victory.

    BCCI should review selection committee. Yuraj Sing, Ashwin, Dhoni and Yadev were bad selection. There are some amazing talented players waiting in queue

    Yuraj Sing. I am very supervised about this selection, He was star no doubt but now his reflexes have weaken and clearly he was late on fast bowlers. This is ridiculous selection

    Ashwin: Ashwin is great bowler, but he showed a poor act. Captain had to used him properly. I still believe Sharma (or any other legge) could have been a choice

    Dhoni: Again a superstar. Slow reflexes, weak body language, no flux and no passion. I am damn sure, there are many young Batsman Wicket keeper in India

    Yadav: May be he is good selection.. i have not seen him much ... But batting order was not proper for him .. For this big target, he deserved 4rth number

    Jedeja is a great player.. Batting order not proper.. could hv come as opener with a license.. India wasting his batting talent..

  • Dawood on June 20, 2017, 9:31 GMT

    @VENKAT KRISH! I agree that one shouldn't bash other but this all started by Indian fans and Indian media as they were extremely overconfident that they will win for sure. In last few days I followed Indian media and was upset after reading/hearing some comments from some great Indian players and even from some great celebrities. Everyone was laughing and bashing in its worst form. But they simply forget that they could be on the receiving end. So you can't really blame Pakistani fans because every action has a reaction and the reaction of some Pakistani fans is somehow justified. This is certainly not the best way to react but India is just on the receiving end this time.

  • Xpl0it0941260 on June 20, 2017, 2:08 GMT

    @Warlock786 Couldn't agree more.

  • Hussain on June 19, 2017, 23:01 GMT

    After the first match no team has crossed 240 score against the Pak quality bowling on dead pitches. Thats the strenght of Pak bowling. Congrats Pakistain. And well played india.