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Hasan Ali wants to ‘bomb’ Indian cricket team in Champions Trophy final

Hasan Ali, the leading wicket-taker of the ICC Champions Trophy, will be Pakistan cricket team’s go-to-man in the final against Indian cricket team on Sunday

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 17, 2017 09:34 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, London
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,India vs Pakistan
Pakistan cricket team's Hasan Ali picked three wickets each against South Africa, Sri Lanka and England (in the semis) andis being looked upon as the man who can hit Indian cricket team hard in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday.(AFP)

Not Mohammad Amir, not Junaid Khan, Pakistan are looking up to rookie right-arm pacer Hasan Ali to finish India off in the ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday.

The 23-year-old has grabbed headlines with his wicket-taking ability and in conditions that have generally favoured batsmen, Hasan Ali has 10 scalps at an average of just 17.2, the best in ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

It is not Hasan Ali’s wicket-taking ability that is making headlines, but his celebration style has taken Pakistan fans by storm.

The spectacular celebration is a mix of Brett Lee’s clenched fist pitch punch that ends with those Shahid Afridi-like arms fully stretched in delight.

Hasan Ali explains his style resembles the ‘bursting of a bomb’ and he wants to do this “at least three-four-five times” against the fancied Indians, who are chasing their third Champions trophy title.

He picked three wickets each against South Africa, Sri Lanka and England (in the semis) and Hasan Ali is being seen as the man who can hit India hard.

“You can say that it is a dream, but I had set a goal after the West Indies series to become the top bowler while in England.

“I am close to my goal and will try to maintain my title of top wicket-taker till the end of final,” Hasan Ali said, adding that he was “not under pressure” against India in the Champions Trophy final.

Who is Hasan Ali?

Armed with medium pace, Hasan Ali started his first class career at the age of 19. His success at club cricket and the National T20 Cup won him a Pakistan cap in 2016. He made his ODI debut against Ireland in Dublin on August 18, 2016, and went wicketless in five overs.

Cardiff, where he broke England’s back in the Champions Trophy semis on Wednesday with figures of 3 for 35, is a happy hunting ground for the Peshawar Zalmi quickie. He took 4 for 60 in September 2016 to help Pakistan win by four wickets.

That Hasan Ali has big-match temperament is proven by the fact his two five-wicket hauls have come against Australia (5 for 52) in Sydney (Jan 22, 2017) and more recently against the Windies (5 for 38) in Providence (April 9, 2017.

He came into the Champions Trophy with 29 wickets and has been the tournament’s most striking pacer. Hasan Ali said tips from bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has worked wonders.

Earlier in the tournament, when India handed Paksitan a sound 124-run thrashing (June 4), Hasain Ali made little impact. He leaked 70 runs off his 10 overs and took Yuvraj Singh’s wicket.

If Pakistan are dreaming to change the course of history, Hasan Ali will have to disintegrate an Indian top order that has toyed with most bowling attacks in the tournament so far.

First Published: Jun 17, 2017 09:21 IST