Venerdì, 23 Giugno, 2017

India and Pakistan ready for Champions Trophy battle royal

Pammachio Corsino | 19 Giugno, 2017, 04:50

When the Asian giants met in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4, India thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs.

Chasing a challenging total of 339 runs, India bowed down before the Pakistani bowlers and got all out for mere 158 runs in 33.3 overs.

Left-arm fast bowler Amir, whose career was nearly ended on the other side of London's River Thames by a ban and jail term he received for his part in a spot-fixing scam during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's, was superb.

Rohit Sharma (0), Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Virat Kohli (5) were snuffed out by Amir in a devastating first spell with three brilliant deliveries.

In only his fourth one-day global at the age of 27, after his debut just 11 days ago, Fakhar overcame his nervy start to unfurl a series of increasingly assured strokes among his 12 fours and two sixes in a 92-ball century. Amir struck just three balls into India's reply when, after bowling two outswingers to Sharma, he had him lbw with a superb inswinger.

Sarfraz paid tribute to the influence of a coaching staff led by Mickey Arthur, who took charge shortly before Pakistan s tour of England past year, where a Test series was shared but the ODI campaign lost 4-1.

"Our strength has been the fact that we've been able to take wickets, and we've been able to take wickets consistently through the middle periods", explained Arthur.

"Let's hope we can put our "A" game again together tomorrow - because if we can, and I said it before the England game, we can beat anybody".


For a team that can't play worldwide cricket at home due to security issues, the victory has far-reaching implications. Even skipper Virat Kohli would tell one and all that they are "not here to make statements".

India had started with four pace bowlers - Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya - and one spinner - Ravindra Jadeja - in their first match.

And while a hugely powerful India line up still fancied their chances on a decent wicket, their confidence was left in ruins after a thrilling burst from Amir to rip the guts from the response.

Hardik Pandya cheered India fans in a capacity crowd as he hit three sixes off succesive balls to bring up a dashing fifty. The 27-year-old completed a 92-ball hundred including two sixes when he swept star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, for his 12th four.

There was a still a seat-of-the-pants element to Pakistan's progress, though, and it was not the greatest surprise when the opening stand ended with a run-out mix-up in which both batsmen were stranded at the same end.

Fakhar, who was awarded the Man of the Match award for his aggressive century, pulled out of training on Saturday after feeling unwell.

Pandya, however, briefly raised their spirits with a quickfire 76, reaching his fifty with three successive sixes off Shadab and hitting six maximums in all before he was run out.

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Mohammad Amir fit for Champs Trophy final He was eventually out when he sliced medium-pacer Hardik Pandya and Jadeja, running back from point, held a well-judged catch. Fakhar lofted Ravindra Jadeja over long-on for six and got to three figures by sweeping Ravichandran Ashwin to the boundary.