Pakistan's rousing triumph | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 19, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:43 AM, June 19, 2017

Pakistan's rousing triumph

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Pakistan's first triumph in the Champions Trophy, which they completed after posting a massive 338 for four and then restricting bitter rivals India to 158 at The Oval, owes much to the fourth over of the pulsating contest, which will definitely be treated as the game-changing moment.

Few might argue that Mohammad Amir's opening burst, that accounted for India's two most prolific batsmen -- opener Rohit Sharma for a three-ball duck in the first over and captain Virat Kohli for five in the third over -- was as important for Pakistan to win their first world title since the 2009 World Twenty20.

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir packed off India's top three to set up a crushing win in the final of the Champions Trophy at The Oval. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

But it was the first ball of the fourth over that turned cruel for India and a blessing for Pakistan. Opener Fakhar Zaman was heading for the dressing room after nicking Jasprit Bumrah behind the wicket to MS Dhoni. He was then on three and standing on the edge of the boundary as the TV umpire was checking whether the bowler has overstepped or not.

in the chase, India's biggest hope Virat Kohli departed early, PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

The left-hander, who was playing only his fourth one-day game after debuting in the tournament, returned to the crease much to the delight of the Pakistan fans. He took his guard and also took his time before unleashing a breathtaking innings of 114 off 106 balls.

The 27-year-old first put on 128 runs for the opening stand with Azhar Ali. Interestingly it was Pakistan's first back-to-back century partnership for the opening stand after a long gap of 14 years since their last exploits against New Zealand in 2003.

The Indian fans were out in force at The Oval but it was going Pakistan's way as after Fakhar, Mohammad Hafeez unleashed fireworks in the end PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

It also spoke to how important that partnership was for a success-starved Pakistan.  When Azhar Ali was dismissed for 59 off 61 balls, it was Fakhar who was to be blamed for the run-out. It was an easy single but the left-hander was watching the ball instead of responding to his teammate's call. He was certainly disappointed but his reaction after Azhar's dismissal was something amazing for someone playing only his fourth one-day international and that too in a big final.

PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

The hard-hitting batsman took the attack to the left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, hitting a massive six and a couple of savage boundaries in the 26th over that produced 15 runs. He took his aim at off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the next over, smashing one over long-on, ran for three but it should have been a four through the covers and a late cut for four down to third man. He also raced to his 100 off just 92 balls with the help of 12 fours and two sixes.

He was more aggressive after his century before a top-edge off an attempted pull ended his innings exactly 30 overs after he had started his charmed second. But by the time he was dismissed Pakistan were perfectly placed at 200 for two to build on his total. Babar Azam then hit a fine 46 and Mohammad Hafeez a 37-ball 57 to take the total to a level that their impressive bowling unit could comfortably defend.

in the chase, India's biggest hope Virat Kohli departed early, leaving the Pakistan fans to laugh last and loudest. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

If Fakhar was the hero that the full house at The Oval and 50-odd on the rooftop of Archbishop Tenison's School saluted as the unlikely hero of the game, young right-arm pace bowler Bumrah would be remembered as the villain, especially for the India fans. It was not the first no-ball, and the costliest one, he bowled in the game. A wayward Bumrah also bowled two consecutive no balls in the match.

But the latest edition of ICC Champions Trophy, which presented a new winner, will be remember for Fakhar for turning a three into a memorable 114. 

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