Final, The Oval

India v Pakistan

Gideon Brooks

At The Oval, June 18. Pakistan won by 180 runs. Toss: India.
By the time Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed held a skyed top edge from Bumrah to seal a crashing win, The Oval was a sea of green and white. Part of it came from the shirts worn and the flags waved by disbelieving Pakistan supporters, celebrating their country's first 50-over title since 1992. But much of it came from the seats in the OCS Stand left vacant by equally disbelieving Indians, who had comfortably outnumbered their rivals, but could not bear to hang around until the end.

Those who did stay had known their team's fate for some time, despite starting the day - the finest of the tournament, with temperatures nudging 30˚C - as overwhelming favourites. Yet from the moment in the fourth over when Fakhar Zaman was caught behind for three but reprieved by a Bumrah no-ball, there was a feeling that the natural order might not last the day. Grabbing his second life, Fakhar ran with it all the way to a rollicking 114 from 106 balls. It was audacious, at times brilliant, and earned him the match award just three months after being plucked from the domestic game - along with 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan - at a trials day in Lahore.

Fakhar's century was the basis of a total of 338 for four - 101 more than Pakistan had made all tournament, and their second-best in 129 one-day internationals against India, behind 344 for eight in a defeat at Karachi in March 2004. His treatment of spinners Ashwin and Jadeja was brutal, hammering them for 78 from 56 balls, eight of his 12 fours and all his three sixes. He had softened India up nicely for Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim to hit 71 from the innings' last 45 balls.

Hafeez was especially carefree, butchering an unbeaten 57 from 37. India had chased down only three higher totals, and never away from home - yet still fancied their chances. Those hopes were soon left in ruins by a thrilling, searing spell of fast bowling from Mohammad Amir, who blitzed India's top order with three for 16 in six overs. He trapped Sharma with his third ball, then had Kohli dropped at slip by Azhar Ali from his ninth. But Pakistan could not dwell on the miss: the next ball took Kohli's leading edge and flew high to backward point.

When Dhawan dabbed behind in Amir's fifth over, India were 33 for three. At 18 years and 257 days, Shadab was the youngest to play in an ICC 50-over final, and claimed the wicket of Yuvraj Singh - the previous youngest - when he boldly reviewed an lbw decision: ball had struck pad a fraction before bat. Dhoni pulled Hasan Ali to deep square leg moments later, and it was 72 for six when Jadhav miscued a heave off Shadab.

Pandya provided a flicker, smashing Shadab for 23 in one over, including three of his six sixes, en route to 76 from 43 balls. But his luck, if not his rage, burned out when he and Jadeja botched a quick single and finished at the same end. While Jadeja simply turned his back, Pandya stomped to the pavilion, taking India's last hope with him. Four overs later, Pakistan completed their largest victory by runs over their greatest rivals, and the largest by any side in a global final.
Man of the Match: Fakhar Zaman. Player of the Tournament: Hasan Ali.

© John Wisden & Co.