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Pakistan’s path to Champions Trophy glory

LONDON: Pakistan’s record-breaking 180-run win over arch-rivals and title-holders India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday completed a remarkable turnaround for Sarfraz Ahmed’s side in the space of just a few weeks.

The lowest-ranked team in the eight-nation one-day international tournament, their group campaign started with a 124-run thrashing by India at Edgbaston on June 4.

But it was wins all the way from then on, culminating in Sunday’s stunning success at The Oval — the scene of Pakistan’s first Test match victory in England in 1954.

AFP Sport looks at Pakistan’s remarkable run to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy title.

June 04, Edgbaston:  Lose to India by 124 runs– Pakistan are completely outplayed in what coach Mickey Arthur calls a “shambolic” display as India pile up 319 for three before dismissing their old foes for just 164 in a rain-marred match.

June 07, Edgbaston: Beat South Africa by 19 runs– Hasan Ali, with three wickets, leads a brilliant bowling display as bottom-ranked Pakistan hold the top-ranked Proteas to 219.

Fakhar makes a confident 31 on ODI debut and Pakistan are well ahead of where they need to be, at 119 for three off 27 overs, when rain sees them win under the Duckworth/Lewis rule.

June 12, Cardiff: Beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets– Junaid Khan and Hasan share six wickets as Sri Lanka are bowled out for 236.

But Pakistan collapse to 162 for seven before an unbroken stand of 75 between skipper Sarfraz (61 not out) and Mohammad Amir (28 not out) sees them win what is a virtual quarter-final.

June 14, Cardiff: Beat England by 8 wkts — Hasan, in the absence of the injured Amir (back spasm) produces a superb skilled display in taking three wickets as previously unbeaten tournament hosts England are dismissed for 211.

Pakistan then prove it’s possible to bat on a used pitch, with Fakhar making his second fifty in as many matches, as they cruise to victory with 77 balls to spare.

June 18, The Oval: Beat India by 180 runs– Fakhar, caught off a no-ball on three, makes 114 his maiden ODI century as Pakistan pile up 338 for four after India captain Virat Kohli wins the toss in the final.

The now fit-again Amir removes all of India’s top three as the champions slump to 33 for three in nine overs before being dismissed for just 158. Pakistan’s margin of victory is their biggest by runs in 129 ODIs against India.

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