Pakistan, at their most magnificent, swarmed all over India to win the Champions Trophy by 180 runs. It was the same template as when they won their previous global one-day tournament, the 1992 World Cup, in that Pakistan were hopeless at the outset of this tournament, which they entered as the eighth-ranked ODI team, to be demolished by India in their opening qualifier. Yet, England in the semi-final and India in the final could not live with them.
Having failed to reach 250 hitherto in this tournament, Pakistan posted 338 for four on the back of a dashing century by Fakhar Zaman, who slammed 114 off 106 balls, then bowled out India in only 30.3 overs on the back of Mohammad Amir’s opening spell.
Again the importance of the opening partnership was illustrated to England, for whom it was the Achilles heel. Pakistan had slumped to eighth partly because they had gone 35 ODIs without a century opening stand, but once the left-handed Fakhar was paired with the steady Test opener Azhar Ali, they launched Pakistan with 118 against England, and 128 off only 23 overs against India.
“I’ve had five semi-finals with South Africa and never got to a final,” Pakistan’s coach Mickey Arthur said. “I got to one final with Pakistan and eventually got a medal, so that’s fantastic, but the credit goes to the players.”
India’s captain Virat Kohli generously admitted, “They [Pakistan] made us make those mistakes because of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field as well, and we have no hesitations or shame to admit that we could not play our best game today.”