<
>

Impressive Hasan knocks out tournament favourites

Star turn

Still young in his international career, Hasan Ali has already shown that he could potentially be an asset to the Pakistan side for years to come. He has a smart mix of variations with the ball, is a tidy outfielder and possesses one of the safer pair of hands in the Pakistan team.

He had a rather sour start to the Champions Trophy, getting pulverised for 70 runs in his 10 overs as Pakistan were demolished by India at Edgbaston. But it took him little time to show that the performance had been nothing more than an aberration as he bounced back with 3 for 24 to stifle South Africa and set up a spectacular turnaround for his team. He followed it up with another three-wicket haul against Sri Lanka to book Pakistan's berth in the semi-final where they were set to face arguably their sternest test of the competition, in the form of tournament favourites England.

Not only did Hasan step up to the occasion, he also ensured Pakistan were not hurt by the absence of their premier paceman Mohammad Amir, who had been ruled out with a back spasm. On a slow Sophia Gardens pitch, he stifled England by hitting intelligent lengths, tight lines, getting the ball to nip just enough both ways, and, towards the end, finding reverse swing.

He struck with his third ball when Jonny Bairstow misjudged the pace and bounce and top-edged a pull to deep square leg. Then, in the first over of his second spell, he again struck, finding the outside edge of Eoin Morgan. By the time he was done, he had broken the back of England's batting, snuffing out Bairstow, Morgan and Ben Stokes to jump to the top of the tournament charts. The 35 runs he conceded contained just two boundaries, and six of his 10 overs went at three or under.

The wow moment

When Hasan was reintroduced in the 32nd over, England were limping at 139 for 3 and Morgan was desperately looking to break the shackles. Off the fourth ball of the over, the England captain stepped down to Hasan and swung for the fences. Just off the previous delivery, Hasan had found Morgan's outside edge with one that shaped away. In this instance, he again took it out of the reach of the batsman. All Morgan, swiping across the line, could manage was an outside edge and a simple catch to the wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed. The celebration that followed was equally noteworthy - a full-blooded fist pump, followed by a triumphant throwing back of the arms, all accompanied by an ecstatic roar.

Stats that matter

  • Hasan's 10 wickets are the highest in the tournament, as well as the best for a Pakistan bowler in one edition of the Champions Trophy.

  • This was Hasan's eighth three-wicket haul in 20 ODIs. Since his debut, all of Pakistan's remaining bowlers have a combined seven three-fors.

What they said

"I bowled the same way I did against South Africa. Against India, in the last three overs, it didn't go well but I stuck to my plans and Azhar Mahmood has helped me."
Hasan Ali

"He is a very energetic bowler and very impressive. Whenever he comes, he gets wickets. If he again gets wickets in the final, that will help us. Hopefully, he will do well."
Sarfraz Ahmed