OVAL – Courtesy to brilliant batting by the opening pair, Pakistan have set 339-run target for India in the big final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at the Oval.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bowl first on a fresh Oval pitch. His idea might have been to get early wickets to squeeze Pakistani middle order and get them out early as possible.
But Pakistan openers proved Kohli’s decision wrong. They started off cautiously, but once the ball got a little older, both opened their arms and began to play shots whenever possible.
Openers put a 128-run partnership off just 22.6 overs before Azhar (59) got run out due to a misunderstanding between the wicket.
Babar Azam along with Fakhar Zaman continued the momentum of the innings, this time Fakhar began to take the strike and hit Indian spinners all over the ground.
He scored a brilliant hundred from 90 balls before getting out on 114 off 106 balls.
Malik and Babar put up a 47-run stand for the 3rd wicket before getting out on 12. Babar was next to go for his 46 when Pakistan were 267.
Two newcomers Mohammad Hafeez(56) and Imad Waseem (22) who was promoted up the order took the game to the final overs with smart hitting. Some excellent bowling by Indian pacers stopped the run flow and kept Pakistan to 337/4 in the 50 overs which could have been well over 350.
India when come to bat, will have to chase 339 runs to win this final.