Hasan Ali emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, picking up 13 wickets.
June 18th 2017 will be etched in Pakistan cricketing folklore forever. It was on this day that the side pummeled arch-rivals India to lift the Champions Trophy for the first and only time in front of a jam-packed Kennington Oval crowd.
Batting first, Pakistan piled on a massive total of 338 runs on the board. Opener Fakhar Zaman led the way with a scintillating 106-ball 114. He was supported by Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez, who chipped in with crucial half-centuries. In reply, the Indian side was shot out for just 158, with only Hardik Pandya offering some resistance by scoring a valiant 76 off just 43 balls.
For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali starred with the ball, picking up three wickets each to inflict a crushing defeat on the Indians. Reflecting back on that famous victory, Hasan Ali has stated that remembering that glorious day still gives him goosebumps.
“Remembering the Champions Trophy win still gives me goosebumps. You cannot describe the feelings of that tournament in words. There were a lot of players who made their debuts – Rumman Raees, Faheem Ashraf and Fakhar Zaman, and there were a few players whose careers had just started – like me and Shadab Khan. So, it was a young team, and a new captain was handling it: Sarfraz bhai,” Hasan said in a chat show Cricket Baaz.
A collective team effort: Hasan Ali
Hasan also added that it was the grace of God, the leadership of then skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and a collective team effort that made the victory possible for the ‘Men in Green’.
“You imagine the 8th ranked team suddenly goes to a mega event and defeats the teams ranked in the top three and then wins the final against India. So, it was just by the grace of God and the way Sarfraz bhai captained the side and every single player performed, I cannot tell it in words.”
Ali also opined that India were the stronger side on paper, and it was the momentum that allowed Pakistan to outperform the Indian side in the Champions Trophy.
“No doubt India were stronger on paper, and their performance was also going good, but when a team has the momentum, they can defeat any team in front of them. So everyone had the hunger to perform.”
For the record, Hasan Ali emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, picking up 13 wickets. Ali added another feather in his cap when he was named the ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the 2017 Champions Trophy.