India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017: 5 factors that led to India’s rout

The Champions Trophy 2017 Final between India and Pakistan at The Oval was expected to be a walk in the park for the defending champions captained by Virat Kohli. But Pakistan made India's big stars eat humble pie in 180 run thrashing.

Written by Sriram Veera | Published:June 19, 2017 10:18 am
india vs pakistan, icc champions trophy, champions trophy final, sports news, cricket news, indian express Fakhar Zaman scored 45 runs off R Ashwin’s 33 deliveries — more than any other batsman has managed in an ODI against the Indian off-spinner.

It was supposed to be the crowning glory for Kohli and his boys, Pakistan expected to play to the recent script and succumb to India’s superior all-round strength. But it was a giant turn-up for the books, as Pakistan’s unheralded stars became overnight heroes and India’s big stars forced to eat humble pie on the big stage. Sriram Veera deciphers the five factors that contributed to the record rout.

The decision at the toss

India pride themselves to be great chasers, and it can be immensely tempting to go with the same plan, especially after they lost to Sri Lanka even after putting up a total over 300. But here is the thing: Pakistan’s strength is their bowling, and if anything is likely to crack under pressure, it’s their batting. Make something around 300, and wait for the scoreboard pressure to work on the nerves. Instead, India chose to pit their best against Pakistan’s best, but the scoreboard pressure in a big final isn’t something to be sneezed at.

Flat Ashwin flattens India

Perhaps, it’s due to all the occasions he was dropped in the past in the ODIs, R Ashwin – the ODI bowler – is an entirely different beast from the attacking one that turns up for Tests. Very defensive, intent on not bleeding runs, he keeps trying to keep the batsmen quiet. But even if he manages to do it on odd occasions, it’s not going to happen consistently on flat tracks like this. “The captain and bowler aren’t in sync,” Shane Warne would say on air. And you could see why. Virat Kohli had kept a slip, wanted his bowler to attack, but Ashwin was worried about not giving away runs, and kept floating on leg and middle to cramp the batsman for room. Mistake, especially when Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali, Pakistan’s openers, weren’t in any kamikaze mode. Only 17 of the 70 runs Ashwin conceded came on the off, and that including an edged four. He kept attacking the wrong side, and paid for it. The batsmen weren’t trying to slog; instead took their time, attacked when they wanted, and kept rotating strike. Left with no choice, Kohli took out the slip, and from then on it was clear that India was only going to be defensive, let Pakistan score what they want, and try to chase it down.

Holding back Kedar Jadhav

It’s an obviously risky decision but when you have the confidence to bring him on in the death overs, it’s inexplicable why you wouldn’t try it out in the middle overs when Ashwin had gone all flat on the big day. If the round-arm stuff of Jadhav was plundered, he could have been taken off the attack. Indians might have considered it a gamble, even after his good showing in the semi-final, and they would have been right, but when the regular stuff wasn’t working, India needed to do something. They didn’t, just kept going with the flow, and ended up staring at a mammoth total.

Immense maturity of Fakhar Zaman

He was supposed to be a one-trick pony. Everyone knew he could blast away, but did he have the patience to wear out a difficult phase? He answered that question in some style. Since he is a batsman who crashes at any width outside off, Indians tied him up with a leg-and-middle line with the new ball. Even the spinners did the same initially. But he didn’t give up, didn’t throw his wicket away, kept pushing and prodding, and waited for the release. It came in the 11th over, when he punched Bumrah to the straight boundary. From then on, there wasn’t any self-doubt, there wasn’t any need to restrict himself; he started flowing and so did Pakistan.

Superlative Mohammad Amir

With his ability to swing the ball into the right-hand batsmen, Mohammad Amir was always going to trouble Rohit Sharma. It wasn’t a surprise that he took out Sharma and Kohli, but it was a surprise to see how easy it was. Two balls that went away with the angle, before he got one back in was enough to prise out the opener. He did the reverse to Kohli. He took one back in, through the bat-and pad gap, angled one out but saw the sitter being dropped at first slip. The next ball was again slanted across, but this one was fuller, and Kohli thought he could whip it across. But the ball kept going away from him, and the leading edge was pouched at point.

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  1. u
    us_a
    Jun 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm
    Indian team didn't show up on the day that mattered, all we had was a bunch of wuss. Also, Kohli needs to blabber less and focus on his core strength.
    Reply
    1. R
      Ramakrishnan Kinattukara
      Jun 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm
      Why our fast bowling spearheads Sami and Yadav were benched? It is never a good tactic to pack the side with all rounders, which in India's case are those who bat a bit and bowl a bit. If the top order cracks so do the all rounders. If the top order clicks the all rounders hardly need to bat. Both ways it was better to go for genuine attacking bowlers.
      Reply
      1. A
        Alphonso D'souza
        Jun 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm
        you are absolutley spot on. looks like Kolhi pla into Pakistan hands. Why take these talented fast bowlers if you are to use bowlers like Jadeja and Ashwin. Two bowlers gave away 137 runs in 20 overs.
        Reply
      2. இனியவன்
        Jun 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm
        Kohli Missed a very crucial point, Pakistan Never Chased under pressure in this Tournament!!! If he would have taken the batting first, Put a score around 280-290, Pakistan Would have struggled to chase under pressure. Kohli Let them did to us what We could have done to Them :-( Giving their batsmen perfect opportunity to Play without pressure combined with Poor Bowling and Poor Fielding. e.g. Kedar Jhadhav should be sent to basic Fielding Training before he can make to Indian National Team, He was useless. I always think Rohit Sharma is most Overrated Player, He can not deliver on big Platforms. Gautam Gambhir Would have been a perfect Opener much better than Mr. Bollywood Rohit Sharma. Yuvraj Singh, Yesterday was Time to prove you are a senior in the team and Can handle the pressure and deliver, but He failed as always.
        Reply
        1. u
          us_a
          Jun 19, 2017 at 6:55 pm
          This match goes on to show some of our seniors need to make way for young blood.
          Reply