Pakistan had entered the tournament ranked eighth on the ICC ODI Team Rankings, but courtesy its victories against higher-ranked sides, finished in the sixth place, which means it now looks well set to qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. When we arrived here, we were No. 8 team in the world.
The future of the tournament is at risk as the ICC prepares to hold its annual conference in London on the back of a successful eighth edition, won by Pakistan after a final against India with an estimated viewing audience in the hundreds of millions.
“To be appointed as captain of the Team of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which includes some of the finest and most attractive cricketers of this generation, is the flawless icing on the cake”, remarked Sarfraz.
“Today’s win shows that no one is favourite when it comes to India v Pakistan match in worldwide cricket”, said a beaming Mohammad Ashraf, who distributed candies among people on a street in Rawalpindi. “We were in the knockout stage but no one gave us a chance”.
It’s described as one of the greatest rivalries in any sport, a match that stops the nations, but few expected the latest clash to end like this. “This is the least we could do”.
Bottom-ranked Pakistan produced a breathtaking display at London’s Oval on Sunday in the climax of a tournament featuring the world’s top eight one-day worldwide nations.
The decline cost Azhar Ali the captaincy and Sarfraz Ahmed, the Twenty20 skipper, was elevated to the role in February. “Majority of the Pakistani team are new. we are the worlds No.1 and yet they defeated us”, he exclaimed. Thanks to the team management.
“We can’t take anyone lightly but they were more intense and passionate on the day”.
“Our team has presented us with a best gift in the holy fasting month of Ramadan”, said Shabbir Ali Asghar, a 14-year-old student, as he watched the final with friends on television in Rawalpindi.
“A guy like Zaman, when players like that get going on their day, it becomes real hard to stop them because I think 80 percent of his shots were high-risk and they were all coming off”, Kohli said.
India captain Kohli conceded Pakistan were worthy winners and, while he claimed to be proud of his players, his admission that the new champions played with more passion was a damning indictment.
“To be appointed as captain of the Team of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which includes some of the finest and most attractive cricketers of this generation, is the ideal icing on the cake”, remarked Sarfraz. This is also the first in the 50-over format since Imran Khan lifted the World Cup on a starry Melbourne night 25 years ago.
Spinner Shadab Khan snared Yuvraj Singh lbw for 22 and Dhoni, India’s former captain who has saved the team on many occasions, pulled Hasan Ali to Imad Wasim at deep square leg to depart for four.
With Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman also coming of age, Pakistan’s batting lineup appears to have the right blend of youth and experience, boosted by the solidity of former captains Azhar, Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. “And the players nearly drove that conversation, which for us was very new, but also showed a maturity, and the way they turned it around was unbelievable”, Arthur said.