Fakhar Zaman rides life to boost Pakistan with maiden ODI ton in Champions Trophy final

Fakhar Zaman debuted for Pakistan in this edition of the ICC Champions Trophy and his 114 against India in the final proved to be the deciding factor as his team lifted the title.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 18, 2017 23:22 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, London
ICC Champions Trophy,Champions Trophy 2017,India vs Pakistan
Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman scored his maiden century in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy against India. (AP)

Fakhar Zaman lashed the Indian bowling into submission as the rookie opener scored his maiden ODI hundred in the all-important ICC Champions Trophy final against India at The Oval on Sunday. He was out for 114 in the 34th over after Pakistan crossed the 200-mark. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Pakistan went on to notch 338/4 before dismissing India for 158 as the former lifted the title. “It is players like Fakhar Zaman who are the future of Pakistan cricket. They have emerged from domestic cricket. The Pakistan Super League has made them fearless cricketers,” said Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Virat Kohli, however, was not very impressed with the Pakistani opener. “Eighty per cent of his strokes are high-risk shots and it’s sheer good luck that things went his way,” said Kohli.

The left-handed Zaman swept Ravichandran Ashwin for his 12th four as he brought up his 100 off just 92 balls as Pakistan scored 183 for 1 in the 31st over. Fakhar Zaman also smashed two sixes, one each off Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. He celebrated his landmark innings by kissing the pitch, something most Pakistanis love to do.

The 27-year-old Zaman, who made his ODI debut in the Champions Trophy in the match against South Africa in Birmingham on June 7, has been in good form in the tournament. Two fifties in the Champions Trophy made Fakhar Zaman an automatic choice for the big final against India.

READ | India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, live cricket score

India’s Jasprit Bumrah played a big hand in helping Fakhar collar the Indian attack with strokes all around the wicket. Bumrah had the opener caught at the wicket by MS Dhoni when on 3, but the Indian pacer had clearly over-stepped and Fakhar was recalled by the umpires.

The Pakistan batsman took full advantage of that piece of luck and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

Initially, his innings was not very impressive. Streaky strokes that raced to the boundary helped him overcome the initial pressure but Fakhar rotated the strike with opener Azhar Ali to take the pressure off him after India won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat first on a fresh Oval wicket.

With the wicket playing easy and Indian bowlers unable to bowl the lines they had in the previous two games, Fakhar and Azhar Ali built a good partnership. Pakistan’s 50 came off 52 balls with both openers going almost neck and neck.

READ | No ICC World T20 in 2018, India to host next Champions Trophy in 2021

Fakhar Zaman featured in two good partnerships. He had Azhar Ali run out for 59 but the 128-run opening wicket stand gave India a rude shock. Fakhar stepped on the pedal after crossing his 50. With Babar Azam he scored 72 runs off 63 balls, twice launching into India’s dreaded spin twins Ashwin and Jadeja.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 18:00 IST