Champion’s Trophy Final 2017 was a Pakistan blitz. Pakistan had an emphatic victory of 180 runs against India, the ‘almost unbeatable’ squad. India sent in Pakistan to bat first, trying to gain advantage of The Oval. But the strategy went all haywire. India’s bowler could not take a single wicket for the first 22 overs. The first wicket came as the run out of Azhar Ali after he smashed a half century of 59, his partner Fakhar Zaman, however, remained for ten move overs to plunder 114 off 106. The score soared to 200 by the time the series debutante was contained.
India was on pressure as its bowlers came out as unsuccessful bets. By the middle overs, the pressure crept into the fielders as well. There were low tides of energy on field and there were several misfields. India just could not restrict the flow. In the inning, all India bowlers could do was take down four Pakistan wickets, while, Pakistan batsmen posed a target of 339 for India. Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya bowled with some considerate economy. There were 13 wide deliveries and three no balls. On the other side, Mohammed Hafeez plundered another half century for Pakistan. Briefly, Pakistan was in full control of the inning.
India batsmen were left with the task of chasing a large target and it was never beyond expectations. However, the way Pakistan bowlers overtook the inning was again, just wordlessly, intensive. Mohammed Amir conjured swing and pace at the Oval pitch and within no time forged the foundation of the victory. India lost opener Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli while they could even gather 10 runs. Both yielded to Amir’s pace. The chase suddenly became a burden for the rest. Dhawan played some shots finally moving away from the crease at 33. In 16.6 overs, India was at 72 for 6. At this point only a fairy tale like situation could have helped India to win the match, or they should have played like Pakistan, but neither it was a fairy tale, nor they could play like Pakistan.
There was a partnership of 80 runs between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja where the former plundered 43-ball 76, the best in the inning. He was run out, a result of pressure that took away the batsmen’s cool in the inning. India was at 152 for 7 in 26.3 overs when Pandya returned to pavilion. In next four overs, Hasan Ali scalped the tail. The chase lasted only for 30.3 overs, something that Pakistan could boast for a decade. Fakhar Zaman, the new bee, was the Player of the match.
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