Sarfraz hopes Champions Trophy win will bring global cricket to Pak

Lynette Rowe
June 20, 2017

Mohammad Hafeez hailed Pakistan's team spirit as the key to their stunning Champions Trophy final triumph against India.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said he was proud of his team after they thumped India at the Oval on Sunday to win the 2017 Champions Trophy. The batting was completely uninhibited by the occasion, and for Fakhar Zaman to come up with a mature display like that in just his fourth global innings is outstanding.

He removed India's top three batsmen-Rohit Sharma (0), Shikhar Dhawan (21) and Kohli (5).

India eventually collapsed to 158 all out as they suffered their heaviest defeat, by runs, in 129 ODIs against Pakistan.

"It is sad that we have not been playing at home for eight years", said Sarfraz.

Outbursts of jingoistic rhetoric and political showdowns between Islamabad and New Delhi have fanned the rivalry over the decades, despite the two nations' shared cricketing heritage prior to their violent rupture on the creation of Pakistan at the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

Arthur for one was looking forward to the series. "After losing the first game, we had no chance to lose again", said Hafeez, who played an important role in the win with a classy 57 not out.

"With a 10-team World Cup we're hoping to increase the competitiveness of matches and the standard of the tournament as a whole".

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Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed's wards were up against a buoyant Sri Lanka fresh from their win against India, in a must-win match.

Pakistan had entered the tournament ranked eighth on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings, but courtesy its victories against higher-ranked sides, finished in sixth place, which means it now looks well set to qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

He added: "Hopefully this win, everyone will remember, not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but for a very long, long time".

This Champions Trophy went ahead as scheduled despite a terror attack at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, on May 22 that killed 22 people.

"I would have had no regrets had Pakistan lost to other teams, but it would have hurt me and the entire nation had the Indians defeated us", said university student Nauman Khan, 28, in Peshawar.

Amir, whose career was almost ended on the other side of London's River Thames by a ban and jail sentence for his involvement in a spot-fixing scam during a 2010 Test at Lord's, made a brilliant comeback after a back spasm forced him out of the semi-final victory over England.

Kohli, himself renowned for rising to the big occasion, admitted India had been outplayed. "That's something that we certainly need to take care of in the future".

- Mubasher Lucman (@mubasherlucman)Virat Kohli "you have to admire and respect the skills of the opposition team".

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