Pakistan win Champions Trophy: Mohammad Amir magic and other turning points from 180-run win over India

Sport360's Jaideep Marar analyses the key factors behind Pakistan's thrashing of arch-rivals India in the Champions Trophy final at the Oval.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
18th June 2017

article:18th June 2017

Amir tore through the Indian top order.
Amir tore through the Indian top order.

In a memorable final at the Oval, batting first – Pakistan posted an imposing 338-4 – with opener Fakhar Zaman scoring 114.

In reply, Mohammad Amir tore through India’s top order while Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan caused further chaos to blow India away for just 158 inside 31 overs.


Here, Sport360’s Jaideep Marar looks at the key turning points from the clash in south west London.

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BUMRAH NO BALL

The Indian bowlers started off with a maiden first over by Bhuvneshwar Kumar while Jasprit Bumrah at the other end also bowled to a plan by limiting the scoring shots of Pakistan’s in-form opener Fakhar Zaman.

In his second over, he even managed to get Zaman to edge to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but television replays indicated that he had overstepped giving a big reprieve to the left-hander.

Bumrah’s no-ball gave the initiative to Pakistan as Zaman not only hung on to notch his maiden ODI hundred but also played his part in a 128-run opening wicket stand with Azhar Ali.

Bumrah who gave away 10 runs in his first over never regained his poise or discipline as he bowled three no-balls and five wides in his nine overs besides conceding 68 runs.

India's Jasprit Bumrah bowls during the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on June 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Costly with the ball: Bumrah.

AZHAR ALI’S EARLY INTENT

India’s opening bowlers had the Pakistan openers in a bind conceding just seven runs in the first three overs. But once Bumrah overstepped to give Fakhar Zaman a reprieve, his partner at the other end, Azhar Ali took charge. He pummeled a straight drive off Bumrah in the same over to show his intent and ease the nerves.

When Ashwin was introduced into the attack, Azhar ensured the off-spinner did not settle down into a rhythm by smashing a huge six in his first over. Ashwin lost his sting thereafter as he went wicketless for 70 runs in his 10 overs besides bowling four wides.

Zaman, who was denied width to play his shots by the Indian bowlers, struggled initially but with Ali showing the way he too flourished as they laid a solid foundation for a big total.

Pakistan's Azhar Ali celebrates after reaching his 50 during the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on June 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Raw power up top: Azhar Ali.

ZAMAN’S MID-INNINGS BLAST

The Indians had to toil hard on a flat pitch to get their first success in the form of a run-out. It partly had to do with Fakhar Zaman not responding to partner Azhar Ali’s call for a run.

With a new man, Babar Azam in, the Indians began closing in – conceding just six runs in the next two overs. But that’s when Zaman, who was batting on 61 with Pakistan on 134-1 in the 25 over, took the Indians apart with a calculated assault against the spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin – smashing three fours and two sixes as they collected 33 runs off 12 balls.

Zaman’s tactics meant Pakistan were not bogged down by the fall of a wicket, instead their scoring rate multiplied so much so that they crossed the 200-mark in the 33rd over. It also hurt the Indian bowling further and they had to be content playing second fiddle throughout the innings.

Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman gestures as he walks back to the pavilion after losing his wicket for 114 during the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London on June 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A knock to remember: Fakhar Zaman.

HAFEEZ’S FINISHING TOUCH

One of Pakistan’s most senior players in the side, Mohammad Hafeez, had been a having a relatively quiet tournament with scores of 31 not out, 1, 26 and 33. There were rumblings back home about his utility with some even saying this could be his last tournament in the green shirt.

However, at the Oval, the situation was perfect for the 189-match veteran to come into his element with the Pakistani batsmen on top.

When he walked into bat in the 40th over the contest, it was interestingly poised as Pakistan were 247-3 and looking to accelerate while the Indians were desperate to restrict them.

But Hafeez came up with an inspired knock – cracking an unbeaten 57 off 37 balls (smashing three sixes and four fours) as Pakistan piled 91 runs in the last 60 balls.

Hafeez’s innings provided the ideal finish as they broke the Indians’ back by posting a formidable total.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan bats during the ICC Champions Trophy match between India and Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Important innings: Hafeez.

AMIR’S TRIPLE STRIKE

Pakistan’s hopes of clinching this final rested on taking early wickets to create panic in the Indian ranks. And that’s exactly what their talismanic fast bowler Mohammad Amir did with his third delivery of the innings by trapping in-form Rohit Sharma leg before wicket with an in-swinging delivery.

India were 0-1 but Amir went a step ahead in his next over by getting the wicket of India’s biggest hope and captain Virat Kohli. The beauty of this dismissal was that off the previous ball Kohli was dropped in the slips after the World No.1-ranked batsman nicked an away going delivery.

Amir, however, did not allow the miss to affect him as he ran in purpose and unleashed another fantastic ball that Kohli tried to flick but ended up edging to point. The left-arm pacer was not finished yet as he returned to hurt India further by claiming Shikhar Dhawan, who was leading a fightback, by inducing an edge to wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Amir’s triple strikes rattled India as they lost three of their most prolific run-getters with just 33 runs on the board and from thereon it was all downhill for the defending champions.


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