Stand up for the Champions
Rarely has a cricket team lived up to its own reputation to such an uncanny degree as the current Pakistan outfit. Packed over the decades with outrageous talents but notoriously unpredictable.Be it in any format of the sport, you can never predict what this Pakistan cricket team has in store. Team unpredictable once again surprised its fans and bamboozled cricket experts. British commentator Rob Smith said that “I used to think that Pakistan were most interesting team in the history of sport. I now realize that they are most interesting team in the history of mankind.Their ability to teleport between farce and genius is unparalleled, and at best they are like watching sport directed by David Lynch. The way young Pakistan became champion of champions is exceptional.Pakistan has done the thing that no one would have ever expected. To barely get a place in tournament being 8th ranked team and then end up the tournament with trophy in hands is not less than a miracle.
Tournament did not start well for Pakistan, losing to their arch rivals by 124 runs. Everyone bashed Sarfaraz for his captaincy and poor team selection. But this boy took criticism positively and kept on improving his technique for upcoming battles against South Africa and Sri Lanka. Pakistan won both of the crucial matches including must win game against Sri Lanka and paved their way to Semis.In Semi Final against hosts England, bowlers did a really great job and took Pakistan to their first ICC Champion Trophy Final a highly anticipated re-match with India.
There was already a lot of talk about this match on social and electronic media. Indo-Pak matches are always an attraction for spectators. 1.5 billion people were going to witness this epic match.
Match started at jam packed stadium of Oval, India won the toss and chose to field first. Pakistan started batting cautiously and luck favored Fakhar Zaman when he was caught behind but Jasprit Bumrah had bowled a no-ball.
Zaman smashed a four the second ball after his reprieve that gave a signal to Indian side that Zaman was coming with something big. He played a really great innings of 114 runs. Despite the luck, the most amazing thing was his belief in himself. He was a guy in his fourth inning but it looked like a guy who had been doing this for number of years and does not fear failure.
Pakistan was looking to finish the inning in well fashioned manner and Hafeez took responsibility like a senior player and helped Team Pakistan to reach a total of 338.
India is known for chasing big totals but to chase 300+ against confident Paki bowling attack was looking bit difficult. India started their inning. Rohit Sharma, who could make 264 single handedly on his day, seemed little confused against pace attack of Pakistan and Amir got big fish on duck. Kohli the skipper came on crease and everyone was waiting for Junaid vs kohli contest. But Amir turned the table and took Kohli’s edge, simple catch floated through slip but dropped by Azhar Ali. Kohli got relief but not for much time because on very next ball he got a leading edge and taken perfectly by Shadab. India was under pressure but no one thought that Amir would dismantel top order of Indian team in one spell as he got Shikar Dhawan in his first spell as well.
Sarfarz summoned Shadab earlier to bowl because he wanted to save overs of pacers for death bowling. Shadad bowled and appealed for LBW but umpire did not seem to be very interesting in his appeal against Yuvi. But this young champ had hell of confidence that he made his captain to take review and it turned in favor of Pakistan.
Meanwhile Hasan Ali joined the party and got previous Champion trophy winner for India, Dhoni. It was total disaster for Indian batting lineup.
Pandya tried to show some resistance but luck did not help him and he got run out. Within minutes Pakistan bowled out whole Indian team on total of 158 and won the trophy by huge margin of 180 runs. And celebration began and Pakistanis thanked their Allah in ground by performing Sajdah-e-Shukar
This is how Pakistan won their first ever Champions trophy. No one would have ever expected that this young team will turn impossible into possible. The records shattered like glass and lowest ranked team became champion of champions. Pakistan proved that stats don’t mean anything, confidence, on paper strength don’t mean anything, the thing that matters is your passion, hard work and belief in yourselves. Pakistani team proved that on their day they can crush the opponents. No doubt this memorable win all always be remembered.
Hasan Ali grabbed man of the tournament award and golden ball. Srafarz said in his post match press conference that ”After first match I said to the boys that tournament does not finish here. Good and positive cricket will bring us victory”.
Hafiz Sarfraz Ahmad was warm welcomed at airport on his return to Pakistan and his thousand of fans are waiting outside his house to see him with recently won trophy.
Cornered Tigers again showed the world what they are capable of, now they have won all three ICC Trophies and are the only 3rd nation to get this milestone after India and West Indies. Trophy has come to Pakistan but we hope international cricket comes as well. Next target for the Green Team is the ICC World Cup in 2019. Good Luck!!!