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Pakistan’s ICC Champions Trophy triumph a repeat of 1992 World Cup glory

Pakistan’s cornered tigers secured a famous win in the 1992 World Cup to put the team on the world cricketing stage. Twenty five years on, Sarfraz Ahmed’s side thrash India to complete the ICC treble.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 19, 2017 19:05 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

They are mercurial. They are unpredictable. They are the biggest mysteries of world cricket. This is the story of Pakistan and their cricket team. At the start of the ICC Champions Trophy, Sarfraz Ahmed’s side were rank outsiders for the title.

After a dismal loss to India, things looked bleak. However, the turnaround was spectacular. A spirited performance plus the rain helped Pakistan defeat South Africa. In their last league game, a captain’s innings from Sarfraz helped Pakistan enter the semifinal with a tense win over Sri Lanka.

In the semifinal, Pakistan stunned the cricketing world by thrashing favorites England to dump them out of the contest. In the final against arch-rivals India, Pakistan shattered the hoodoo in grand style to clinch their maiden ICC Champions Trophy title.

When one looks at Pakistan’s path to victory in the Champions Trophy 2017, there are similarities with how they achieved glory for the first time in the 1992 World Cup.

Rain plus must-wins

In the 1992 World Cup, Pakistan started their campaign badly when they lost their first three games. Against England in Adelaide, they managed to salvage one point after being bowled out for 74 when the game was abandoned due to rain. Pakistan won their remaining games and eventually bagged the title, beating England.

In this tournament, Pakistan needed to win their remaining games after losing to India. Rain helped them against South Africa as they were ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method. They beat Sri Lanka and stunned England in the semifinal. In the final, Pakistan finally ended an eight-year run of not having beaten India in an ICC event.

Pakistan defeated England in the semi-final to knock the tournament favourites out of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 ( Getty Images )

Beating undefeated hosts

In the 1992 World Cup, New Zealand were undefeated in their first seven games. However, in their last league game, they lost by seven wickets to Pakistan. The teams clashed again in the semifinal and Pakistan won by four wickets to enter the final.

In this Champions Trophy 2017, England were the only undefeated team in the tournament. However, Pakistan pulled off a major surprise as they thrashed the hosts to knock them out.

Hasan Ali was the leading wicket-taker in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with 13 wickets and he won the Player of the tournament award. ( IDI via Getty Images )

Youngsters lead charge

A close look at Pakistan’s success in major tournaments reveals that youngsters have led the charge in the team’s title success. In the 1992 World Cup, 23-year-old Inzamam-ul-Haq slammed 60 off 37 balls in the semifinal against New Zealand to help Pakistan win. In the final, Inzamam chipped in with a vital 42 off 35 balls.

The Champions Trophy 2017 saw the likes of 27-year-old Fakhar Zaman and 23-year-old pacer Hasan Ali propel Pakistan to victory. Zaman smashed 252 runs at an average of 63 while Hasan Ali’s 13 wickets made him the player of the tournament. Their exploits was the key to Pakistan completing the ICC treble of World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy titles.

Mohammad Amir picked up the wickets of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma to dent India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. ( REUTERS )

Amir equals Akram

The 1992 World Cup final is incomplete without Wasim Akram. With England on course to get past Pakistan, Akram produced two magic balls that derailed England. He got rid of Allan Lamb with a leg-cutter while he snapped up Chris Lewis with a delivery that curled back in late at sharp pace.

In the final of the Champions Trophy, Mohammad Amir matched Akram. In two overs, he ripped the heart out of India’s batting line-up. He got Rohit Sharma with a delivery that cut back in late to trap him leg before for 0. In his next over, he got the massive wicket of Virat Kohli for 0 with a delivery that held its line and the Indian skipper got a leading edge that was taken at point. In his fifth over, he got rid of Shikhar Dhawan, the leading run-getter in the 2017 edition of the tournament, with a scrambled-seam delivery that bounced a bit more. He was caught behind. His spell of 6-2-16-3 had delivered Pakistan the title.

Pakistan’s win over India made them the third team after India, West Indies and Sri Lanka to claim all three ICC championships. The win in 1992 had put Pakistan on the world stage. The 2009 World T20 win in England had given a nation in despair something to cheer. Now, with a win over India, Pakistan can hope for better times with no international cricket being played at home for eight years.

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 19:04 IST