Mumbai: Beaten them fair and square in their tournament opener, Virat Kohli-led India were hot favourites to beat arch-rivals Pakistan as the two sides locked horns in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in July this year.
However, Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan outplayed India in all the departments in the final to clinch their maiden ICC Champions Trophy.
While there is no doubting Pakistan’s skill and performance on that given day, it has now emerged that former cricketer-turned-commentators Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, who is now coaching Team India, played a role in Pakistan’s triumph.
Talat Ali, the manager of the Pakistan side during the ICC Champions Trophy, stated that Gavaskar and Shastri’s comments fired up the Pakistan side.
"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," Ali was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Pakistan, who were put in to bat, had a bit of luck on their side but they made sure to make the most of it. Fakhar Zaman, their aggressive left-hander, could have been dismissed cheaply. However, even as MS Dhoni took a clean catch Zaman was adjudged not-out as Jasprit Bumrah had overstepped.
Zaman, who scored a whirlwind 114, played a pivotal role as Pakistan amassed 338 runs.
From thereon Pakistani bowlers, especially Mohammad Amir, ran riot as India were bowled out for 158, giving Pakistan a huge 180-run win and their first ICC Champions Trophy.
"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," added Ali.
Pakistan cricket was in crisis as the tournament had kicked on and no one had given them any chance to win the tournament. More so, following their performance in the tournament opener against India.
However, the tide turned as Pakistan beat South Africa, then snatched a win from the jaws of defeat against Sri Lanka and then thumped England in the semifinals.
"We had quite a bit of luck as I said. We were lucky in that South Africa game where we had lost early wickets and then it rained. Against Sri Lanka, we were struggling and I have no idea how Thisara Perera dropped that catch. Then in the final, Fakhar was out off a no ball when he was on three," said Ali....