LONDON: Pakistan’s young batting sensation Fakhar Zaman hit his maiden ODI hundred as he continued to unleash attack on India’s bowlers, keeping Pakistan in control after India won the toss and chose to field in the Champions Trophy finale at The Oval on Sunday.
Pakistan are four wickets down after a cracking start to the inning of the high-octane nail-biting Champions Trophy final being played at London’s Oval ground on Sunday.
Pakistan is at 329 runs for the loss of four wickets at the end of the 49th over.
In an effort to hit a boundary to reach the 50 run mark Babar Azam played a mistimed shot straight into the Yuvraj Singh’s hands and departed with 46 runs to his name in the 43rd over.
Shoaib Malik left the field after Kedhar Jadhav caught him playing a mistimed shot over the mid-off in the 40th over.
Fakhar departed for 114 runs, just a couple of balls after 200 came up for Pakistan in the 33rd over. The opener reached his maiden ODI century in style with a four off the 31st over.
In the 23rd over, Babar Azam replaced Azhar (59) who returned to the pavilion after a mix up with Fakhar resulted in a run out on Ashwin’s delivery.
The 128-run opening partnership between Fakhar and Azhar Ali helped bolster green shirts’ overall total.
The opening pair broke two records, one for the best score posted by Pakistani openers against India in an ICC tournament (86 runs) and the best partnership against India in an ICC tournament when 100 came up for Pakistan in the 18th over.
The last instance of Pakistan openers adding more than 100 for the first wicket in two consecutive matches was in 2003.
Pakistan saw back-to-back fifties for Azhar and Fakhar in the 20th over, that yielded 114 runs, as the two showed great form by consistently rotating strike and hitting sporadic boundaries.
The team had a firm grounding with 56 runs on the board off the first 10 overs as the two openers scored from both sides, ramping up the pressure on the Indian side.
Azhar smacked the fist six off the innings off Ashwin in the eighth over after he and Fakhar made themselves at home on the pitch.
The game appeared to have taken a predictable turn when Bumrah seemed to have nicked Fakhar to the keeper in the fourth over, but a replay revealed the bowler had overstepped the crease, and it was ruled a no ball.
12 runs came off the high-yielding fourth over, which featured two boundaries, two no-balls and a wide ball, as Pakistan stood at 19 runs with the loss of no wickets.
Pakistan is sporting just one change, as expected, with Muhammad Amir replacing Rumman Raees.
The Indian lineup remains unchanged.
In Champions Trophy history 2013 has been the only edition in which the team batting first won the final. The other 5 finals have been won by the chasing team.
Head to head the record is in favour of India against Pakistan in all ICC tournaments. However, the last time Pakistan beat India was in 2009 also in a Champions Trophy match.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (w + c), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Kedhar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaspreet Bumrah
Pakistan’s 100+ opening stand was broken as Azhar Ali was run out after a misunderstanding at 59, leaving Pakistan one down for 128.
Azhar and Fakhar Zaman both smashed fifties, seeing Pakistan off to a soaring start as India rued missed chances.
Fakhar was given a second life when he was caught behind off a no-ball by Bumrah earlier in the inning.
The cricketing world’s biggest match will decide the Champions Trophy title, as archrivals Pakistan and India reignite rivalry yet again after facing off in their group game on June 4.
Title-holders India, who thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs in their opening group match, were unchanged from the side that hammered Bangladesh by nine wickets in Thursday´s semi-final at Birmingham´s Edgbaston.
But Pakistan made one change, with the fit-again Mohammad Amir, who missed Wednesday´s impressive eight-wicket semi-final win over previously unbeaten tournament hosts England with a back spasm, returning.
Amir replaced fellow left-arm quick Rumman Raees, who marked his one-day international debut with two wickets against England.
India´s lone loss so far in this tournament, featuring the world´s top eight ODI nations, was at The Oval when they suffered a surprise seven-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka on June 8.