New Delhi: Pakistan pacer Mohammed Amir’s figures of 3-16 in the ICC Champions Trophy final against India in June proved to be a crucial, game-changing factor.
Amir, along with contributions from Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan and Shadab Khan helped the Men in Green thrash the then defending champions India by 180 runs at The Oval in London.
Recalling the final, Amir spoke on the importance of getting captain Virat Kohli’s wicket.
“When Kohli was dropped, I thought half the game was gone to be honest. Because he is the kind of batsman if you give him a chance, he won’t score less than hundred.
"Ninety-percent of the time, you give him a chance, he gets a hundred. Recently against New Zealand, they dropped him on 15 or 20 and he scored a hundred. He doesn’t give you a second chance,”he said to ESPNCricinfo.
"Everybody knows if you get Kohli, India is 50% out of the game. Till he is at the crease, India’s chances of winning are 70-80%. If you look at his chasing ratio, he is at the top of the world. He chases well, he performs well under pressure.
"So our plan was to get their top order – [Shikhar] Dhawan, [Rohit] Sharma, Kohli, the guys who were scoring the runs in the tournament. My plan was that I didn’t want to save runs, I wanted to take wickets. If we could get one or two from the top, we could win the match,” he further explained.
He further went on to speak about dismissing the 29-year-old Kohli.
“In my mind, I thought he’ll be ready for my inswinger, because the previous ball had been an outswinger. So I thought, 80-90% he would be ready for an inswinger.
"But I wanted to bowl at him in the same area, and move it away again. If you look at the clips of it, you can see he shaped to play it to leg, he moved to play it to on [side], thinking I was going to bring it in.
“ My thinking was that if I bowl again in the same area, the same ball going away, he might go to play it thinking it is coming in, and edge it to slip again, but it went with the angle to point,” he explained.
He also spoke on Fahkar Zaman’s match-winning century.
“I remembered Fakhar [Zaman] and how he had been out on a no-ball and had then scored a hundred. That kind of thing happens when you are walking back, it came to me immediately and I thought I hope this doesn’t happen to us now,” he said.
The 25-year-old Amir also admitted that it was a pitch where runs were difficult to defend.
“The pitch was the kind where you couldn’t stop the runs. Even after they were six down, [Hardik] Pandya was hitting so big – the wicket was that flat. You couldn’t stop the runs flowing, you could only take wickets to win the game.
“My plan in the first spell was that even if I gave away 35-40 runs in the first five but took two wickets, then we were in the game. So the target was to get these two or three guys out,” he further elaborated....