Fakhar Zaman became the first Pakistani batsmen to score a century in ICC ODI tournament final    Getty Images
Fakhar Zaman became the first Pakistani batsmen to score a century in ICC ODI tournament final Getty Images

The applause was deafening at the toss. The voices of the captains were almost inaudible as the coin went up. India winning it made things increased the decibel level further. As expected, they chose to bowl on a fresh wicket. The wicket was nothing short of a belter. Defying the odds of expectation, Pakistan belted 338 for 4 in their stipulated 50 overs against India in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval. The charge was initiated by Pakistani openers Fakhar Zaman (114) and Azhar Ali (59), who added 128 for the first wicket. Zaman went on to slam his maiden ODI century. The middle-order supported his effort as Babar Azam (46), Mohammad Hafeez (57*) and Imad Wasim (25*) all contributed well. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final at The Oval

Hafeez provided the innings an apt finish. He finished with 57 not out from just 37 deliveries. Pakistan scored 91 from their final 10 overs. It required a special effort from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to curb the Pakistani late surge to some extent. Despite bowling half his overs at the death, Bhuvneshwar finished with 10-2-44-1. India need 339 to lay their hands on the Champions Trophy for a record third (2.5th?) time. LIVE BLOG UPDATES

Bhuvneshwar started the day with a maiden. The next two overs were quiet as well with only 7 coming off them before luck finding its way into the Pakistan camp. Then Zaman edged a delivery angled across by Bumrah to MS Dhoni’s gloves. He was on his way back when the third umpire confirmed it was a ‘no ball’.

Later that over, an inside edge from Zaman fetched him a boundary. Two balls later Azhar Ali got into the act, pulling one past the bowler for a boundary. The duo did not stop and continued to attack. Azhar altered his usual style and went after the bowlers, especially Ashwin, who was brought into the eighth over.

Pakistan showed intent to run quick singles and as a result presented run out opportunities. India kept missing the stumps. At least four direct-hits were missed in the first 15 overs. Zaman survived in the third over as Kedar Jadhav missed the stumps at the non-striker end. In the 11th over, Rohit did the same and Azhar survived.

Surviving the run out scares Pakistan had raced to 128 for 1 in the 23rd over when Azhar, guilty of ball-watching, succumbed to a throw from Jasprit Bumrah. By then Pakistan had got a platform. This was Azhar and Zaman’s second consecutive hundred-run stand and their third consecutive partnership in excess of fifty.

India rested on a false comfort cushion when the next over from Jadeja went for a single. Zaman was preparing for an onslaught. The 26th over of the innings from Jadeja went 6, 4, 1, 0, 1, 4. The next over from Ashwin went 1, 1 wide, 1 wide, 6, 3, 0, 1 and 4.

Zaman and Babar Azam completed their 50-run stand from just 40 ball with Babar’s contribution being just 8 from 19 balls. Zaman swept the first ball of the 31st over to the deep square-leg boundary off Ashwin to bring up his maiden hundred. Only in his fourth ODI, Zaman now has 3 scores in excess of fifty and all his knocks have made impacts to Pakistan’s fortune. What makes his knocks commendable is the occasion.

He became the first Pakistan batsman to score a century in an ICC ODI tournament final. His chancy knock was finally brought a closure courtesy a very good catch from Ravindra Jadeja, who ran back from point. Hardik got rewarded for some disciplined bowling.

Shoaib Malik, who has 4 of his 9 ODI tons against India, joined Babar in the middle. The latter stepped up post Zaman’s departure. The duo added 47 from 39 balls before Bhuvneshwar struck in his second spell.

Hafeez came in ahead of skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. The decision seemed a bit out-of-place at the start, given Sarfraz’s current form. Babar fell to the golden arm of Kedar Jadhav in the 43rd over. Sarfraz sprung another surprise by promoting Imad Wasim ahead of himself. Hafeez and Imad added an unbeaten stand of 71 from just 45 balls, a commendable job, especially considering the bowlers they faced predominantly Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah.

To India’s dismay, they bowled as many as 25 extras. Earlier, winning the toss India elected to bowl. They went in with the same XI they played against South Africa and in the semi-final against Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Pakistan expectedly brought in a now-fit Mohammad Aamer for Rumman Raees.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 338 for 4 in 50 overs (Azhar Ali 59, Fakhar Zaman 114, Babar Azam 46, Mohammad Hafeez 57*; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 for 44, Kedar Jadhav 1 for 27) vs India.