Playing the all important final against India, Pakistan were invited to bat first by their opponents at The Oval. Pakistan did not have an opening stand of over 100 in consecutive one-day internationals since 2003. Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali had put a stand of over 100 for Pakistan in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy. Once again, the two did the same for Pakistan as they put on a 128-run stand for their team in the final against India.
After given an early lifeline, Fakhar was caught at slips off a no-ball by Jasprit Bumrah, the opener went all out and scored runs at quick pace. Azhar also supported him with some stunning shots. The two openers brought up their 100-run partnership in the 18th over in style as Azhar smashed Ravindra Jadeja for a four towards long-on.
Azhar, who scored a fifty against in their tournament opener, brought up his 12th one-day international fifty and continued his brilliant run with the bat in the tournament. On his way to his fifty, he smashed six fours and six.
Meanwhile, his partner Fakhar, who made his debut for Pakistan against South Africa, scored his third ODI half-century. The latest sensation in Pakistan cricket scored his third consecutive half-century for his team in ODIs.
Also, their 128-run stand at The Oval is now Pakistan’s best opening stand in any ICC tournament. The two openers had an 118-run opening stand for Pakistan in the semi-final match against England, where Pakistan edged out an eight-wicket win to make it to their first ICC Champions Trophy final.