An impressive 128-run opening stand between Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali helped Pakistan amass a mammoth 338-run total to comfortably overpower arch-rivals India by 180 runs to clinch the ICC Champions Trophy title at Kennington Oval on Sunday.
Virat Kohli, India's captain, at the toss opted to bowl first given the green surface. "We'd like our bowlers to exploit it," Kohli said, but his inform seamers were up against Pakistan's openers, Zaman and Ali, determined to hand their side a solid platform. The duo began cautiously and went three overs without a boundary. Zaman, in the fourth over, nicked Jasprit Bumrah to the keeper, only to be let off by no ball. Zaman made the most of the reprieve and registered his first boundary two-balls later. Ali joined in and the duo hit five fours in the next three overs.
Kohli turned to spin, from R Ashwin, in the eighth over to provide a breakthrough, but Ali greeted him with a massive six over long on in his first over. India's spin mainstay went for 28 from his first four overs. It was after Ali's dismissal in the 23rd over, for a 71-balll 59 - via a run out, that Zaman - playing his fourth international innings, switched gears and set Pakistan on course for a sizable total. The left hander finally fell for 114 from 106 balls. Zaman and Ali scored at a rate of 5.56 in the 23 overs that they batted together. India's batting effort paled in comparison and they managed just 158 in reply in 30.3 overs.