Champions Trophy: Pakistan stuns India in cricket final
Hot favorite India was supposed to trounce underdog Pakistan in the Champions Trophy cricket final in London.
Defending champion India had already beaten lowly Pakistan, the world’s eighth-ranked team, in the earlier stages of the competition.
And though Pakistan had scrapped its way to the final, the result seemed a foregone conclusion.
And it pulled off a famous 180-run victory in front of a feverish crowd at The Oval.
The shock triumph sparked scenes of jubilation among the Pakistan contingent in the capacity crowd in sun-baked south London, prompting a serenade from car horns outside.
Back home, people across Pakistan took to the streets to celebrate.
Even Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif chipped in with his congratulations.
He said he “deeply appreciated” the team’s extraordinary victory and said the players and management “deserve the nation’s profound gratitude and appreciation for their remarkable performances.”
The Prime Minister added that the cricket team has provided an “excellent opportunity for the entire nation to rejoice in the Holy month of Ramadan.”
Batsman Fakhar Zaman hit a spectacular century, scoring 114 runs, and Mohammad Hafeez added 57 to help Pakistan to a total of 338 runs for four wickets from its 50 overs.
Bowler Mohammad Amir then removed India’s top three batsmen in quick succession. India limped to 54 but when the fifth wicket tumbled it was in deep trouble.
Hardik Pandya helped drag his side from the edge of the abyss with 76 runs, but Pakistan bowled out India for 158 to score a remarkable victory.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said: “After the India match when we lost in the group stage, I told my boys the tournament hadn’t finished yet.
“Credit goes to my boys. Fakhar is a great impact player, he played like a champion batsman. Amir bowled brilliantly but all my bowlers bowled really well. We have a young team and credit to my boys.”
India captain Virat Kohli said: “Pakistan had a good performance, I congratulate them. They deserve to win. They need victories like these. Things weren’t happening for them and then they win a tournament.”
Former Pakistan captain turned politician Imran Khan tweeted his congratulations, while former teammate Wasim Akram, one of the world’s greatest fast bowlers , said he was “over the moon.”
Another former skipper Shahid Afridi said the performance will be “remembered long by both Indian and Pakistani fans.’
Australia’s Steve Smith and England’s Moeen Ali also congratulated the Pakistan side, calling its win “exceptional” and its players “unbelievable.”
Pakistan, which won the 1992 World Cup, has played as a team in exile since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.