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18 June 2017

Champions Trophy: Inspired Pakistan thrash India by 180 runs

Pakistan’s victory earned them their first 50-over world title since 1992
Champions Trophy final, The Oval
Pakistan 338-4 (50 overs): Fakhar 114, Azhar 59, Hafeez 57*, Jadhav 1-27
India 158 all out (30.3 overs): Pandya 76, Amir 3-16
Pakistan won by 180 runs
Scorecard

Pakistan produced an incredible display to thrash fierce rivals India and win the Champions Trophy at The Oval.

Fakhar Zaman hit a spectacular century to propel Pakistan to 338-4 in the scorching south London sunshine.

Mohammad Amir then tore through the India top order to help reduce the defending champions to 54-5.

India eventually limped to 158, Pakistan winning by 180 runs to take their first global 50-over title since 1992.

That Pakistan lifted the title was surprising enough – at eighth in the world they began as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament – but it is the way they demolished the strong favourites will live long in the memory.

Fakhar reaches century in final for Pakistan

Firstly Fakhar flayed the ball all around the The Oval, a maiden century coming in his fourth ODI after Pakistan were invited to bat.

And then Amir, in the same city in which he committed the spot-fixing offences that led to a five-year ban, found precious movement to destroy the vaunted India batting line-up.

The rest of the Pakistan attack were irresistible, backed up by excellent fielding, all in front of a vibrant, raucous and enthusiastic capacity crowd.

India captain Virat Kohli was given a lifeline when he was dropped on five, but his wicket fell from the very next ball

Cornered tigers 25 years on

A quarter-of-a-century ago, Pakistan came from the brink of elimination to win the World Cup, inspired by captain Imran Khan telling them to “fight like cornered tigers”.

Here, they recovered from a humbling defeat by India in their opening game with similar tenacity.

Fakhar was installed at the top of the order, Hasan Ali fronted a talented pace attack and energetic captain Sarfraz Ahmed marshalled a team that grew in confidence and momentum.

World number ones South Africa were beaten in the rain before Pakistan edged past Sri Lanka to reach the last four. England, the much-fancied hosts, were brushed aside in Cardiff before the an incredible performance in the final – their biggest margin of victory over India in an ODI.

Amir tears through India’s top order

Awesome Amir flattens India

Though Fakhar had illuminated The Oval, there was a suspicion that Pakistan’s total was within reach of India’s stellar batting. That was until Amir got to work.

Rohit Sharma was pinned lbw by the third ball of the innings, only for Azhar Ali to spill a straightforward first-slip chance off India captain and master run-chaser Virat Kohli.

However, from the very next ball, Kohli was squared up and athletically held at point by Shadab Khan, before Shikhar Dhawan edged behind.

After Yuvraj Singh was given lbw on review to leg-spinner Shadab and MS Dhoni holed out off the pace of Hasan, the contest was as good as done.

Hardik Pandya’s six-hitting in a 43-ball 76 always seemed likely to be in vain. It was not long after he was run out that last man Jasprit Bumrah flapped at Hasan – and the Pakistan celebrations begun.

Fans across India and Pakistan watched the match

Fakhar flays India

India, favouring a chase, gave up the chance to bat first on a run-filled surface and were made to pay by left-hander Fakhar.

He was reprieved on three, caught behind off a Bumrah no-ball, and went on to carve, slice and belt his way to a 92-ball century.

Fakhar shared an opening stand of 128 with Azhar Ali and, after a mix-up that saw Azhar run out, sprang to life. At one point, he took 32 runs in the space of eight legal deliveries.

When Fakhar miscued the impressive Bhuvneshwar Kumar to a back-tracking Ravindra Jadeja at point, India pulled themselves back into contention.

Mohammad Hafeez made an unbeaten 57 from 37 balls and Babar Azam 46 from 52, but India’s canny death bowling seemed to have kept them in contention.

As it turned out, Pakistan had far too much for them.

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