After Pakistan were thrashed by 124 runs in their tournament-opener by India, not even their biggest fans would have given them a chance to to advance ahead of the group stage let alone winning it.
However, Pakistan’s knack of being unpredictable more often than not was on full display in the tournament, as they defeated the likes of South Africa and England before making light work of widely touted favourites India in the final to win their maiden Champions Trophy.
Pakistan, led by Fakhar Zaman‘s maiden ODI century, set up a daunting 339-run target with a loss of four wickets. In reply, the Men in Blue, who had batted well throughout the tournament, were all out for just 158 runs in the 31st over.
And while everybody was left shell-shocked following the result of the tournament, two former Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, who is currently the head coach of India, might have played a big role in Pakistan’s inspired performance.
“India wrote us off in the final. I was listening to the analysis of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri and they gave us no chance. That fired up the boys. It was called a no-contest and we were written off. We said let the bat and ball do the talking,” Talat Ali Malik told Cricbuzz. “We had quite a bit of luck. Difficult to figure out why India put us in after winning the toss. With our strong bowling attack, once we put decent total on the board, it was going to be tough for India,” he added.
Malik further hoped that India and Pakistan start playing bilateral cricket soon. Both the teams have not played a full-fledged series since 2007. Pakistan visited India in 2012 for a short limited-overs series but barring that the arch rivals play against each other only in ICC tournaments or Asia Cup.
“I am told that television channels rate India – Pakistan clash as the third biggest in the world. Football obviously takes the top spot. The coverage of that game in Pakistan was tremendous and I am sure that was the same case in India. I hope we play regularly so that the tension goes off. The more cricket we play, the better it will be. I hope the bilateral series resumes soon” he said.