19 June, 2017
It was a charged-up performance from Sarfraz Ahmed s underdog team with left-handed opener Zaman, after a lucky reprieve, scoring a pulsating 114 in their imposing 338 for 4.
Title-holders India face arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy at The Oval in London on Sunday, with a television audience of millions set to be glued to the latest edition of world cricket's most high-profile match.
Their bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, returning to what he describes as his "second home" after several seasons as a Surrey favourite on the pitch, has great belief in a Pakistan team who have already knocked England out of their own tournament at the semi-final stage.
While Amir has been injured and is sitting out, Wahab Riaz has hurt his ankle and has been ruled out of ICC Champions Trophy, Junaid Khan has been a back-up, Rumman Raees is a kid fresh on the blocks, Hasan is the guy around whom Pakistan's bowling plans seem to have revolved.
Amir, who went wicketless in the first two Group B matches, against India and South Africa, contributed with both the bat and ball against Sri Lanka, to help the Green Brigade sail into the semi-finals.
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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed added: "After the India match in the group stage, I told the players the tournament hadn't finished yet". 'If you make the finals, you've played readlly good cricket, he said.
"Many people felt we couldn't beat India". Hafeez's innings was especially vital, coming as it did after a personal lean spell and from a situation where other Pakistan teams could have easily collapsed.
Even spinner R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja failed to shine in the crucial final. But by the time he was dismissed Pakistan were perfectly placed at 200 for two to build on his total. 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.
Pakistan's 60 per cent chances while India 40 per cent to win.
Actor Sushmita who has been consistently tweeting about the game ever since it started wrote, "I love U INDIA!There is a reason why V R a leading team in d world...a defeat, however heartbreaking never defines us!#jaiHind" Riteish wrote, "Hard Luck Team INDIA ... we love you".
We have nothing to lose today, he stressed. He won the golden bat in the last edition of Champions Trophy and won it this time around too.