Fakhar, Amir sparkle as Pakistan stun India

Preview: A wounded Pakistan will be out for revenge while India will aim to maintain their dominance when the arch-rivals meet in the final of the Champions Trophy cricket tournament at The Oval in London on Sunday.

After being put in to bat, Pakistan put up 338 for four on the board buoyed by opener Fakhar Zaman's maiden worldwide century and fifties from Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez.

Mohammad Amir then reduced India to 33 for three by dismissing all the members of the title-holders top three, with Rohit Sharma out for a duck and opposing skipper Virat Kohli, the world s leading ODI batsman, falling for just five.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali finished as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 13 scalps.

"When players like that get going on their day, it becomes really hard to stop them because I think 80 percent of his shots were high-risk - and they were all coming off", said Kohli. He came into the team as a replacement for the misfiring Ahmed Shehzad and he did not feature in Pakistan's opener against India.

Pakistan have managed to bounce back in this tournament, defeating South Africa and Sri Lanka in the group stages and England in the semi-finals to book a berth in the final.

"I'm disappointed but I have a smile on my face because I'm proud of how my team has performed in the tournament overall". "The credit for the victory goes to the team as well as the management".

Fakhar's natural game has plundered Pakistan domestic cricket for five seasons. Ashwin and Jadeja too frequently bowled defensively and quicker than required, and this allowed Pakistan's batsmen to nudge easy singles and whip deliveries off the pads.

"I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and hopefully all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan", said Sarfraz. We knew we were better than that.

"It sort of feels surreal really, to be honest", Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur told a news conference. "It has been a remarkable achievement", said Arthur.

"With the ball, we could have had more wicket-taking opportunities".

"We have got two years until 2019". Amir's was, make no mistake, the ODI spell that Pakistan cricket fans would have yearned for from him since he was welcomed back into the worldwide fold past year: 26 dot balls, appreciable movement, accuracy and the bloodied heart of India's batting in his grip.

Amir took out all three of India's premier batsmen, bowled a maiden for figures of 6-2-16-3, then watched as his teammates mopped up.

"Hopefully this win, everyone will remember, not today, not tomorrow, [but for a] very long, long time", said a delighted Sarfraz. The boys were really motivated today.

This was only Zaman's fifth one-day global.

Put in to bat, Pakistan got off to a flawless start.

But just like Arsenal "couldn't" beat Chelsea - See 2017 FA Cup final - like the Chicago Cubs were "cursed" to never again win another baseball title - See 2016 World Series - and like England are never to beat the Germans on penalties - sadly, some things will never change - records are there to be broken.

Sarfraz was right to highlight one of the hurdles his side have overcome in recent times, with the country starved of global cricket since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 at Lahore that has left them playing nearly exclusively on neutral grounds.


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