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ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2017

Now bring cricket to Pakistan: Sarfraz

19 June 2017

Pakistan captain used the triumph in the Champions Trophy final to renew pleas for international cricket to return to the country

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he hoped his side's stunning 180-run Champions Trophy final win over arch-rivals India would be a catalyst for the full return of international cricket to his homeland.

Bottom-ranked Pakistan produced a breathtaking display at The Oval in south London on Sunday in the climax of a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day international nations.

They piled up 4-338, with Fakhar Zaman making a dashing 114 – the left-handed opener's maiden hundred in just his fourth match at this level since a debut in Pakistan's group-stage win over South Africa.

Mohammad Amir then reduced India to 3-33 by dismissing all the members of the title-holders' top three, with Rohit Sharma out for a duck and opposing skipper Virat Kohli, the world's leading ODI batsman, falling for just five.

Amir has last laugh after Kohli's second chance

There was no way back for India, who collapsed to 158 all out with nearly 20 overs of the match to go as they suffered their heaviest defeat by runs in 129 ODIs against Pakistan.

With the exception of Zimbabwe's tour two years ago, Pakistan have had to play all of their 'home' matches outside their own country since a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore.

"I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and hopefully all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan," said Sarfraz.

This Champions Trophy went ahead as scheduled despite a terror attack at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, on May 22 that killed 22 people.

And it continued even after another deadly attack at London Bridge, barely two miles from The Oval on June 3 in which eight people died.

But after the victims were remembered with a minute's silence by a capacity crowd, fans at The Oval were soon engrossed by an extraordinary match.

This is massive for the country: Arthur

"I think great things went for me and my team and my country," Sarfraz told reporters after a win made all the more astounding by the fact Pakistan had suffered a 124-run defeat by India in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4. 

"Hopefully this win, everyone will remember, not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but for a very long, long time," added the wicketkeeper-batsman.

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

"They motivated us," explained Sarfraz, also Pakistan's captain when they beat India in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup final in Colombo.

"When we arrived here (in England), we were No 8 and now we are the champions," said the 30-year-old gloveman.

'They were a shambles ... this is remarkable'

Pakistan, who will aim for more ODI glory in England at the 2019 World Cup, looked anything but tournament winners after their opening loss.

But Arthur insisted that reverse had been an "aberration".

"We just had to keep believing ... they kept on believing, trusting their roles (and) trusting the gameplan that 'Saffy' (Sarfraz) and I had set up."

Arthur played down his own role by adding: "This isn't about me and my career; it's about 15 unbelievable players in that dressing room.

Fakhar, Azhar blast century opening stand

"I was telling somebody the other day that I've had five semi-finals with South Africa and never got to a final. I got to one final with Pakistan, and eventually got a medal."

Amir, whose career was nearly ended on the other side of London's River Thames by a ban and jail sentence for his involvement in a spot-fixing scan during a 2010 Test at Lord's, made a brilliant comeback after a back spasm forced him out of the semi-final victory over England.

"Amir was the guy that could do that for us," said Arthur. 

"We were always thinking there was one spell in there somewhere, and the spell came thankfully at the start of a final.

"It says a lot about his personality ... but what I do know is that Mohammad Amir is a big-match player."


Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation


Schedule


1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneNew Zealand v Australia, No Result

3 JuneSri Lanka lost to South Africa by 96 runs

4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, No Result

6 JuneEngland beat New Zealand by 87 runs

7 JunePakistan beat South Africa by 19 runs (DLS method)

8 JuneSri Lanka beat India by seven wickets

9 JuneBangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets

10 JuneEngland beat Australia by 40 runs (DLS method)

11 JuneIndia beat South Africa by eight wickets

12 JunePakistan beat Sri Lanka by three wickets

14 JuneFirst semi-final: England lost to Pakistan by eight wkts

15 JuneSecond semi-final: Bangladesh lost to India by nine wickets, Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal: Pakistan bear India by 180 runs


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