Pakistan, at their most magnificent, swarmed almost all over India to win the Champions Trophy by 180 runs. It was actually the same template as when they won their previous global one-day tournament, the 1992 World Cup, in which Pakistan were helpless at the outset for this tournament, which they entered as the eighth-ranked ODI team, to be demolished by India in their opening qualifier. England in the semi-final and India in the final could not live with them.
Having failed to reach 250 hitherto in this tournament, Pakistan posted 338 for four on the back of a dashing century by Fakhar Zaman, who slammed 114 off 106 balls, then bowled out India in only 30.3 overs on the back of Mohammad Amir's opening spell. Again the importance of the opening partnership was illustrated to England, for whom it was the Achilles heel:
Pakistan had slumped to eighth partly because they had gone 35 ODIs without a century opening stand, however once the left-handed Fakhar was matched with the steady Test opener Azhar Ali, they launched Pakistan with 118 against England, and 128 off only 23 overs against India.
" I've had five semi-finals with South Africa and never obtained to a final," Pakistan's coach Mickey Arthur said. "I obtained to one final with Pakistan and eventually got a medal, so this's fantastic, but the credit goes to the players."
India's captain Virat Kohli generously admitted: "They [Pakistan] made us make those mistakes since of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field as well, and we have no hesitations or shame to admit that we could not play our best game today."
Pakistan's cricket is often hailed as inexplicable and mysterious rather of being the product of its environment, which it naturally is. Their aspiring cricketers select up a bat and grip it as they like, without coaches telling them to use their leading elbow, and bowlers can not extract bounce outside of grassless pitches, like concrete, so they transfer it sideways instead: hence batsmen like Fakhar with his strong bottom hand. As for inconsistency, or "unpredictability", it controls from an infrastructure, which is not well-resourced by contrast with India's, England's and Australia's: hence Pakistan could field like drains against India in the qualifier, and like a dream in the final.
The century by Fakhar, whose name means "pride", was not the ideal innings played in a global one-day final because there was so a lot playing and top-edging and missing if the ball was brief. It was, however, the most audacious and he had much of which to be proud. Fakhar, 27, dared to get to for the stars-- never having played a one-day international before last month-- and in his four innings in this specific Champions Trophy, he scored 30, 51, 57 against England, and his 114 made him man of the match.
Mo Amir removes Virat Kohli for five to start the rout Credit: GETTY IMAGES
The critical moment of Pakistan's innings, and the match, was the half-second before Fakhar was caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah for only three. Pakistan would have been eight for one wicket in the fourth over, and struggling to get the ball off the square.
Having been connected down on legstump, Fakhar was favoured with lots of width after this let-off and he paid in, especially against India's spinners, scoring 78 off 56 balls from Ravis, Ashwin and Jadeja, either managing down the pitch to swipe, drive and flay, or else rocking back and using the full depth of his crease.
What was India's strength-- and would have been again if this had been a used pitch, like Cardiff in the semis-- was transformed into a weakness by Pakistan, who hit 164 rounds off 21 overs of spin. Fakhar used in order to be in Pakistan's navy but he would have been more at house in the army's cavalry leading a charge.
Just since Amir was Pakistan's chief bowler, so was Bhuvneshwar Kumar for India, but his impact was limited by the fact he was not used mid-innings to break just one of Pakistan's stands. Altogether Pakistan's bowlers-- far from the stereotype of profligate and wild-- were much more disciplined than India's, especially when it happened to conceding extras. Bumrah, so objective on not giving Fakhar width, donated four legside wides in his first three overs.
Amir's opening spell of six overs clinched the cup for Pakistan: it contained three wickets, two maidens and a dropped slip catch. Amir had taken out all of India's top three when his cross-seamer had and bounced Shikar Dhawan caught behind.
Shadab Khan, a brilliant allrounder in the creation, and already Pakistan's best fielder, overturned Yuvraj Singh and Richard Kettleborough's original not-out decision. Shadab was operated for three consecutive sixes by Hardik Pandya, who smote 76 off 43 before being run out to his fury, yet still Sarfraz kept Shadab on for another over, whereas prudence would have withdrawn him from the shooting line. Pakistan at their best do not do doubt, and prudence has never won a global trophy.
Pakistan, at their most magnificent, swarmed all over India to win the Champions Trophy by 180 runs. It was the same template as when they won their previous global one-day tournament, the 1992 World Cup, in that Pakistan were hopeless at the outset of this tournament, which they entered as the eighth-ranked ODI team, to be demolished by India in their opening qualifier. As for inconsistency, or "unpredictability", it stems from an infrastructure, which is not well-resourced by comparison with India's, England's and Australia's: hence Pakistan could field like drains against India in the qualifier, and like a dream in the final.
Just as Amir was Pakistan's chief bowler, so was Bhuvneshwar Kumar for India, but his impact was limited by the fact he was not used mid-innings to break one of Pakistan's stands. Altogether Pakistan's bowlers-- far from the stereotype of profligate and wild-- were far more disciplined than India's, especially when it came to conceding extras.