Who’s your Daddy Now?
In the morning Azan on 18th June 2017, every Pakistani fan prayed for “Fakhar Zaman’s Blistering 100” and it was answered. We saw a dramatic start to the final, where Fakhar Zaman kept quiet and he miraculously survived a potential runout, an edge to wicketkeeper Dhoni and a bottom edge that nearly kissed his leg stump in the same over from Bumrah.
Against all odds and his normal nature, Fakhar kept his cool with Azhar Ali, negotiated the initial movement offered from the pitch and managed a run a ball half centuries. After getting to his fifty, Zaman celebrated by raising his bat and a sigh of relief, signs of achieving the first milestone of surviving a rather testing time and getting Pakistan off to a steady start.
But right after that a brilliant dive from Bumrah got the better of Azhar Ali’s judgement and he was run out on 59 (79). With Babar Azam new at crease the stage was set for Fakhar to unleash. With an eye of the tiger came a simple push on a full length delivery and the ball raced straight down the ground passing the non-striker for a four. Zaman never looked back and by now it was clear that he grew up watching Boom Boom Afridi and fearlessness runs in his blood. It did not matter if he was playing a negative line, best spin bowling duo or the yorker machine, he smashed them all! — down the ground, meeting them halfway down the track and sweep shots from outside off that made look Virat and the men in blue helpless as he scored his century.
By the time Zaman was done he had scored 114 (106) that included 12 exquisite fours and 3 Indian moral crushing sixes. Pakistan were 200–2 in 33.1 overs when Shoaib Malik walked in. He made his intentions clear when he danced down the track to hit a massive six of Jadeja who ended up conceding 67 Runs in just 8 overs. Malik got out rather cheaply on 12 (16) when he tried to play a cut shot on a well directed bouncer from Bhuvi.
Till then 280 looked liked a power total for Pakistan. In came Hafeez who started from where Zaman left off. He scored a fifty at a strike rate of 154.05. Hafeez was unbeaten on 57 (37) with 4 fours and 3 sixes. When Pakistan completed their 50 overs they had posted a steep total of 338–4 with 27 fours and 9 sixes which meant Pakistani fans had plenty to cheer for during the innings break.
Now it was India’s time to cheer as the most celebrated batting line up of Champions Trophy 2017 was about set yet another record. With 338 to chase, and the chase master leading the side and the top two run scorers in the tournament to open the innings, India were still favourites.
The start of the second innings was nothing that the Indian fans would have hoped for, in fact it was a nightmare named Mohammad Amir, he got the top three averaging 79.25, 101.33 and 253.00 for 0, 21 and 5. India were 33–3 in 9.0, a sight no Indian fan was prepared for and neither was the Indian middle order. India were reduced to 54–5 in 13.3 by Hasan Ali. MS Dhoni miss timed a slower bouncer. When Kedar Jadhav top edged and got out India were 72–6 in just 17 overs. Indian fans had started to leave the ground, when Hardik Pandya showed his valour, and smacked three consecutive sixes of Shadab and took the attack back to Pakistan. Pandya now took his attack on Fakhar Zaman and hit him for two consecutive sixes. Just when it seemed that Pandya might take India home, Jadeja refused a single and did not let Pandya carry on. He was runout on 76 (46) with 4 fours and 6 sixes.
While Pandya saved the embarrassment before getting out, Jadeja played a guilty shot in the next over and was caught behind for 15 (26). The remaining 3 batsmen score 1 run each and the Indian innings was wrapped up on 158–10 and Pakistan won the match by 180 runs.
Pakistan was number 8 team when they played their first match of the tournament against India. They now hold the Champions Trophy 2017. Credit goes to Pakistan Cricket Board and their team coach Mickey Arthur for finding and nurturing such exciting young talent. Hope we get to see more of them.
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