Defending champions India failed to retain the coveted trophy after a 180-run loss in the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. Asked to bat first, Pakistan posted an imposing 338/4 and bowled India out for 158.
India’s chase got off to a forgettable start with Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli - the two protagonists of India’s massive win over Bangladesh – falling inside the first four overs. Mohammed Amir dealt a huge blow when he had Rohit Sharma trapped lbw off the third ball of India’s innings and then claimed Virat in his next over. Virat, who was dropped in the first slip on the third ball of the third over, perished on the fourth when he got a leading edge that traveled to the point fielder. With two wickets down for just six runs, India were in desperate need of a partnership and Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh were looking to forge one when Dhawan departed for 21. The fall of wickets continued as India then lost Yuvraj Singh (22) and MS Dhoni (4) in quick succession.
Earlier, the Men in Blue seemed to have an off day in the field as direct hits missed the mark, edges didn’t carry to the fielders and extras hurt the team’s cause. Jasprit Bumrah had Fakhar Zaman (114) caught behind in the fourth over, but it was later deemed a no ball as Bumrah had overstepped. That moment affected India as Pakistan capitalized with their openers adding 128 runs for the first wicket, their best in the ICC CT. With the pitch doing little to help the bowlers, Pakistan managed to put on valuable stands for every wicket.
Though Azhar Ali (59) was run-out, the mix-up didn’t play on Zaman’s mind as the youngster continued to torment the bowlers. Virat had introduced R. Ashwin into the attack in the eighth over and Jadeja in the 16th, but the spin duo failed to make any inroads. Both Ashwin and Jadeja went wicketless. Zaman brought up his century off 92 balls with 12 boundaries and two sixes. It was Pandya, who broke the deadlock when he had the centurion caught by Jadeja.
Like in the last game, Jadhav once again came to the rescue to end the 47-run stand between Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam when the latter stepped out to hit him but was caught by Yuvraj at the boundary. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar stood out with his control and accuracy. He bowled two maiden overs in his opening spell of five overs and when he returned, he removed Shoaib Malik for just 12. On a day when all Indian bowlers’ economy was on a higher side, Bhuvneshwar conceded only 44 runs from his 10 overs.
Brief scores: Pakistan 338/4 in 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 114, Azhar Ali 59, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1-44) beat India 158 in 30.3 overs (Hardik Pandya 76, Mohammad Amir 3-16, Hasan Ali 3-19) by 180 runs.