Monday, July 3, 2017

What does Pakistan’s victory in the Champion’s Trophy mean for the world of cricket?

Pakistan’s victory in the Champions Trophy final is already one of the sporting stories of the year and proves once again the unpredictable nature of cricket is what makes it so great.

Nobody gave them a prayer after the way they tamely succumbed to India in their opening group game and the fact that India skipper Virat Kohi let them have first use of a belting Oval pitch suggested he did not either.

What followed was a powerhouse display of batting and bowling that Pakistan’s neighbours could not live with and a side tipped to win everything were simply annihilated.

Pakistan have always blown hot and cold and those who are slightly longer in the tooth will remember the 1992 World Cup when they fought back from near elimination to beat England in the final.

Fast forward 25 years and, once again, they refused to give in and, with fierce criticism still ringing in their ears from many ex-players after the early India defeat, turned things around to land the spoils.

Although it is somewhat of a cliché, the result was certainly good for the game as it capped an excellent tournament that began in the wet but ended in glorious sunshine with raw emotion pouring from Sarfraz Ahmed’s side.

The usual suspects were tipped to do well, with England favourites to win on home soil but dispatched with ease in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, while Australia did not even reach the last four.

Everyone loves an underdog and, with no home base and devoid of experience after the retirement of a number of veterans, Pakistan certainly fitted that bill.

The fact they were able to beat such a talented India team will give hope to others that the result is never a foregone conclusion if you have belief.

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Bangladesh were the other surprise side of the Champions Trophy and, despite the one-sided nature of their semi-final loss to India, were a credit to their nation.

The Tigers have come a long way since the days when they were the whipping boys of international cricket and the fact that commentators were not surprised to see them qualify for the semis shows the progress they have made.

They too will have been pleased to see David down Goliath on Sunday as it is a battle they have fought many times in the past and are starting to reap the rewards of their persistence.

Pakistan are unlikely ever to dominate the cricket world like the great West Indies and Australia sides of the past, as it is not in their nature to be consistent.

They always have talented and exciting players in their ranks but it is getting them to perform at the same time that has been the problem.

When it all clicks it is a joy to watch and stars such as Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali have the class to be huge players on the world stage for years to come.

Nobody expected Pakistan to win the tournament and few thought they could even get out of the group, with the result breathing life into a format that has been choked by the emergence of Twenty20 cricket.

The ecstasy written on the faces of the Pakistan supporters is evidence enough that one-day international cricket is still important and can provide just as much excitement as any T20 event around the world.

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  1. cric-times said...
     

    Very well written post! But with due respect, I'd say that we still can't expect Pakistan to beat the strong teams on a regular basis.

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