Insightful News


We are an addiction for those who love reading.


Insightful News

Pakistan v India talking points: Fakhar Zaman drives Pakistan’s transformation | Ali Martin | Sport


1) Thrilling chaos of Pakistan embodied by Fakhar Zaman

Fakhar Zaman neatly summed up the glorious chaos from which Pakistan seems to draw its cricketing strength, having begun the Champions Trophy as an uncapped drinks carrier and ended it with a maiden one-day international hundred in just his fourth appearance, an average of 63 and a shiny winner’s medal. There was chaos along the way in the left‑hander’s 114 from 106 balls too, not least the edge behind on three off a no-ball, the four leg-byes that pinged off his helmet in the following over and some wacky running that included the mix-up that left Azhar Ali run out. But the counter-attack that followed his opening partner’s demise was breathtaking in its execution, not least the takedown of the two Ravis, Ashwin and Jadeja, that plundered the spin twins for eight fours and three sixes including one audacious straight hockey-style club off the former. A decade on from a spell as a trainee in the Pakistan navy, it has been plain-sailing for Fakhar at the start of his international voyage.

2) Particular praise deserved for Sarfraz and Azhar Ali

It was fitting that Pakistan’s captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, was the man to hold the simple looping catch off the top edge of Jasprit Bumrah’s bat that sealed Pakistan’s triumph, having masterminded his side’s compelling surge from last-place qualifiers to title winners in understated fashion alongside the head coach, Mickey Arthur. Sarfraz had a fine and ego-free day, first holding back from promoting himself up the order in the first innings to send Mohammed Hafeez and Imad Wasim ahead of him – the reward was an unbroken stand of 71 in 45 balls – before allowing the 18-year-old Shadab Khan to review a key lbw off Yuvraj Singh and holding four catches himself behind the stumps. A nod, too, should go to his predecessor Azhar Ali, who last year had resembled Pakistan’s answer to Alastair Cook – a roundhead in an increasingly cavalier-dominated sport – but has since shrugged off his jump-before-you-are-pushed decision to stand down as captain and knuckled down as a player; his 59 in the opening stand of 128 with Fakhar set the platform.

3) Pakistan complete their metamorphosis in the field

The Pakistan that so meekly succumbed to India in their opening match at Edgbaston were utterly rancid in the field, with a catalogue of costly fumbles, overthrows and two dropped catches pointing decisively to a short stay in the tournament. Their transformation since has been remarkable, however, as was summed up in the final here by the diving effort by Imad Wasim at deep square leg to end MS Dhoni’s day on four. They remain imperfect – Azhar Ali’s drop off Virat Kohli at slip could, on another day, have cost Pakistan more than the one ball the India captain subsequently lasted – but you only had to witness the cascade of high-fives and back-slaps that followed a simple if spectacular flying stop by the teenager Shadab Khan at backward point to recognise a team now pulling for each other in this regard.

4) Mohammad Amir seals title with early barrage

Mohammad Amir, with the back spasms that denied him a semi-final place seemingly abated, effectively sealed the title with his three-wicket opening burst from the Pavilion End. If trapping Rohit Sharma lbw third ball got Pakistan fans believing and the scalp of Virat Kohli was the most prized – the India captain’s record in run chases is otherworldly – then the coup de grace was the lifter to Shikar Dhawan that simply begged to feather the edge and gave Sarfraz the simplest of takes behind the stumps. Amir’s cricketing rehabilitation after a five-year ban for spot-fixing will always have its detractors – including, previously, some of his team-mates – but there can be little dispute that the sight of the paceman steaming in to bowl his whippy left-arm rockets remains one of the sport’s most visceral thrills.

5) Kumar excels with the ball but Bumrah’s luck was out

It was a day of contrasting fortunes for India’s two new-ball bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 10 overs, one for 44, felt like a triumph for the lithe fast‑medium on a run-soaked Oval pitch. But Jasprit Bumrah’s nine overs, none for 68, gave rise to the question of whether the normally reliable white‑ball trebuchet had strolled under a ladder en route to the ground. A huge dose of it was self-inflicted, of course, through the howling front-foot no-ball that led to the reprieve of Fakhar on three (one of three he amassed in his day’s work, in addition to five wides). However, having already been off the field for treatment on his shoulder after failing to prevent a four, during his final spell a yorker thudded into the stumps of Mohammad Hafeez on 46, only for the bail to cheekily spring up – without so much as a wink of its “zing” light – before plopping, maddeningly for Bumrah, neatly back down into its groove. It wasn’t his day, or India’s.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *