Pakistanís Resounding Victory and Indiaís Stunning Defeat - By: Saeed Qureshi

In order to determine the winner of the eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy was played on 18 June 2017 between Pakistan and India at the Oval ground in London. Pakistan scored 338 runs and won that prestigious match by 180 runs. Indian team could score merely 158 in 30.3 overs. Pakistani team batted first which proved to be a boon for the winning team.

The ICCĒ s Champion Trophy is considered as very prestigious. It assumed a nerve-wrecking importance as it was being played between the two staunch regional rivals namely India and Pakistan. There was a pall of gloom in Pakistan due to a series of matches won by India for quite some time against Pakistan. It was with this background that India was being considered as a strong team and probable winner of the ICC series.

Indiaís performance in both batting and balling in the previous matches with other teams has been quite impressive. Lot of expectations were riveted on Virat Kohli Rohil and Sharma Shikhar Dhawan whose scores in the international cricket have been remarkable.

Yet the game of cricket, occasionally, turns out to be unpredictable and that is what happened. India was defeated by Pakistani team and dispatched it with a meagre score of 158 runs. The Indian batsmen fell like the house of cards one after another. The dispatch of Virat Kohli, the captain and a tenacious run maker with five runs was, the most devastating blow to the Indian team. Pakistani teamís stature enhanced enormously as they scored a victory with high margin and only with 6 players of the team.

The defeat in such international matches is also graceful when the teams are competing for the final match or the crown. A victory is certainly like hitting at a jackpot although a jackpot is by luck while the triumph through skill, hard work and tenacity assumes a lasting honor and historic laurel.

Between 1950 and 2017 there have been 59 test matches played between India and Pakistan. Out of these, Pakistan won 12 matches while India won 9. The rest were drawn. Each match had been crucial and treated as symbol of the national honor. Out of 129 ODIS (one day international) matches, Pakistan won 73 while India won52. In T20Is matches (Twenty20 International) India won 7 while Pakistan could bag only one match. These figures show that overall Pakistan has been a leading winner in most of cricket competitions between the two regional rivals.

It should be noted that behind the matches particularly that of cricket between India and Pakistan, there has always been a predominant national sentiment. Each match whether it is the test match, one day match or under twenty match turns into a stake for national prestige for both the countries. The overriding political conflict between India and Pakistan spills over in other fields including the games particularly the cricket matches.

Prior to the 2017 ICC Trophy match there prevailed a gloom and depression that Pakistan cannot win the final in the light of the past persistent victories by India. India was also tipped as a favorite by international reckoning. But cricket game sometime turns unpredictable and the tide goes against the most powerful and most favorite team or the side.

It would in order to individually mention the Pakistani cricket team members who were instrumental in achieving this most prestigious victory for Pakistan. First of all, the credit goes to the team captain Sarfraz Ahmed for his prudent captaincy and for paving way for the historical victory. Then the credit goes to the opener Fakhar Zaman who scored mammoth 114 runs thus consolidating Pakistanís position at the initial stages. He must be very lucky as on the first ball he was out but that turned out to be no ball and that proved to be a turning point for him to move forward with a great deal of confidence.

Fast paced bowler Muhammad Aamir remained barred from playing cricket for five year for his involvement in match fixing. But he duly compensated for his misdemeanor by taking three important wickets of Virat Kholi, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Virat was ousted twice by Aamir Khan but the first was declared as no ball and in the second ball he took viratís wicket.

In this final crucial match, Pakistan inducted such players who had not played previously in any international cricket match. Their names are Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Rooman Rais and Fahim Ashraf. That strategy worked perfectly well.

This match would serve as a big morale-boosting victory for Pakistan as well as for the players for quite a long time to come. Even if the Indian team squares this brilliant achievement with a future Pakistani team, the historic setback of the present Indian team and its poor performance would always remain as distinctive part of the history of the International cricket.

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com

Posted on Jun 28, 17 | 1:54 am