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Sublime Fakhar leads Pakistan to 338-4 in final

19 June 2017

With Sarfraz being optimistic that other top cricket playing nations would start visiting Pakistan again, Arthur was asked if he felt the same.

Revelation and redemption helped Pakistan turn world cricket's order upside down as opener Fakhar Zaman's maiden one-day worldwide century and fast bowler Mohammad Amir's brilliant new-ball spell underpinned a landslide win over firm favourites India in the Champions Trophy final.

The south Asian nation claimed their third ICC tournament, having earlier won the 50-over World Cup in 1992 and the World Twenty20 in 2009. We came here as a number eight ranked team and won the tournament.

Agallant effort from Hardik Pandya created some interest in the faltering Indian chase but one would never know if he could have taken India home when more than 180 runs were needed in about 23 overs with only four wickets in hand. Captain Sarfraz is clearly one to dig in his heels and fight the long fight when the tide turns against the team.

Admitting that the match between India and Pakistan is always "special", the 32-year-old backed his side to continue to play in the same manner as they have performed so far and emerge victorious. And he showed in the semi-finals on a big stage he can do the job for us. Zaman was on 3 at the time, and looking out of sorts.

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On the other hand, many pubs made a decision to open early and lure prospective customers with "buy two, get three" beer offers. "It is a mercurial team and this tournament has thrown up so many upsets so far", Hussey wrote in a column for the official website of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

India got their man finally thanks to a fine catch by Jadeja running back from point after a skewed big hit at Pandya. R Ashwin, who replaced him, was no better. A bouncer gloved wide of Dhoni took Zaman into the nineties, and the century was a formality from there. Nothing in Pakistan cricket lasts a lifetime, nothing in Pakistan cricket comes easy. Indeed, the ineffectiveness of India's two experienced spinners was the big letdown.

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The margin of victory - by a massive 180 runs with just under 20 overs to spare - was as emphatic as it was surprising for a team who tested the skin on their teeth and the seats of their trousers to the limits to get over the line.

Azam, with 46 off 52 balls, and Hafeez, with an unbeaten 57 from 38 balls, ensured the strong start was not wasted.

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All in all, it turned out to be a momentous display for Pakistan, whose fans have struggled to find much joy in a team whose fortunes wax and wane. The veteran allrounder collected a smooth half-century in 34 balls, and rounded off the last over with a straight six off Bhuvneshwar.

"Let us see who is going to play - Rumman Raees or Amir". And when the tournament's top scorer Shikhar Dhawan followed India looked cooked.

For Pakistan, they will need to match India's pressure in the field.

When teenage leg-spinner Shadab then struck in his first over via DRS, hitting Yuvraj Singh pad before bat, and MS Dhoni pulled Hasan Ali (three for 19) for a tumbling catch in the deep, India were washed up at 54 for five - and there was no realistic way back.

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