With time to spare, India napped in its dressing room rather than dwell on being humbled, and woke up refreshed.
Amir is screaming, rushing towards no-one in particular with his arms spread out. Eight years after he announced himself on the world stage, Amir has set Pakistan well on their way to be champions of the world again.
“Hopefully this win, everyone will remember – not today, not tomorrow, but for a very long, long time”, said Sarfraz, the wicketkeeper who held the final catch that sparked wild celebrations. In the very first over, he trapped Rohit Sharma in front with a kind of delivery that he’s always turned heads with – fast and snaking back into the right-hander.
For once, in the country where he was convicted of spot-fixing and sent to prison, Amir was revelling in uncontained joy. But it doesn’t. Amir has deceived him, holding it cross-seam. And Dhawan gets a faint outside edge and is snapped up by Sarfraz Ahmed.
However, it would not be an easy one for the Men in Blue to defend their title as they would face a charged-up and equally confident Pakistan, who surprised everyone by beating favourites England in the first semi-final at Cardiff on Wednesday. But one of those 300s was in a losing cause and India had not had to chase a total this big.
Fakhar Zaman, the little-known left-hander who made his debut in their second game, lit up a showpiece match with 114 from 106 balls.
The bowling department for India under the likes of pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have looked solid bowling economically while providing clinical breakthroughs. The law of averages that often decides important moments in sport simply had to catch up, or so it seemed. Not bad, that technique – the flawless back foot defense, one of the rarest shots now in worldwide cricket.
Then Hasan Ali had MS Dhoni hooking straight to the deep backward square-leg fielder. The arch-rivals met 10 years ago in the inaugural ICC T20 2007, in which Team India came out victorious. They are the future for Pakistan in ODIs.
# 5 wickets lost for India at the end of 14 overs, it is most by Team India since Jan 2013 in a fifty over game. He also collected three fours as India’s expert spinners were taken for 33 in 12 deliveries.
“We’ve got to keep this momentum now, we’re on the right track and I’m just happy with the brand of cricket we’re playing”. The slow pitch in Cardiff had aided them against England.
Some good length bowling from India kept Pakistan relatively subdued in the last few overs.
A team that has been pulled up for having slipped behind the rest of the world in terms of the pace of ODI cricket had caught up when it mattered most.
Together, they made India pay for the let-off and misses. Theall-rounder recently got publicity for his comments when he said that he loved the label of “unpredictability” that is often attached to the Pakistani team saying that it was a strength for the group.However, much like the Pakistani team’s performance during the Champions Trophy Hafeez’s playing style have also often been called inconsistent by fans.His execution has been dubbed both “awe-inspiring” and “distressingly bad”.
Then Amir took over, finding redemption on his day of reckoning.