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Pakistan stun holders India to lift Champions Trophy

20 June 2017

With Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman also coming of age, Pakistan's batting lineup appears to have the right blend of youth and experience, boosted by the solidity of former captains Azhar, Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Pakistan itself has hosted only a handful of global cricket matches over the past decade due to security fears.

There were no other changes in the teams standings led by South Africa, although India, England and Bangladesh have all lost a point each.

Pakistan have been starved of worldwide cricket in their own country since an attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, forcing them to play their "home" series at neutral venues and Mohammad Hafeez, who made an unbeaten 57 off 37 balls, said the win was for the Pakistan public.

It was only on June 4 that India launched their Champions Trophy title defence with a thumping 124-run win over Pakistan at Edgbaston.

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Amir, whose career was almost ended on the other side of London's River Thames by a ban and jail sentence for his involvement in a spot-fixing scan during a 2010 Test at Lord's, made a brilliant comeback after a back spasm forced him out of the semi-final victory over England.

Pakistan piled up an impressive 338 for four after being put in to bat and India's much-vaunted top order of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli were blown away by an inspired opening burst by Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir. The duo began cautiously and went three overs without a boundary.

The victory was splashed across most major newspapers, with leading English daily Dawn proclaiming: "Pakistan breaks jinx, trounce India in dream final".

The future of the tournament is at risk as the ICC prepares to hold its annual conference in London on the back of a successful eighth edition, won by Pakistan after a final against India with an estimated viewing audience in the hundreds of millions.

While the country's largest paper, the Urdu-daily Jang, announced: "Pakistan Champions, trounced Indian team".

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India were six wickets down as Hardik was the lone Indian warrior fighting Pakistani bowlers such as Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan.

Shadab picked up his second wicket when Kedar Jadhav, on nine, gave Sarfraz a simple catch and India appeared to be crumbling meekly at 72 for six.

"After the (first) India match, one thing I said to my boys was "the tournament hasn't finished yet", Sarfraz told reporters.

"Early wickets are never good, especially in a chase". One big partnership would have been the key to set it up nicely. With their inability to host top worldwide sides on home soil due to security concerns and a spot-fixing controversy blighting their domestic T20 league, Sunday's win provided the country's cricket fans with some much-needed cheer. So we just had to keep believing, keep trusting the techniques, keep trusting the game plan.

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