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Fakhar Zaman proved to be a hero for Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy Final against India where he scored 114 runs from 106 runs. That massive score and his maiden century guided Pakistan to 338/4 and India couldn’t make much of an impact with the willow to lose wickets at regular intervals early on and by that time, the match had slipped from India’s grasps to eventually lose by 180 runs. And despite this all, the script could have been severely different.
Batting on three runs, Zaman was caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah but the Indian seamer had overstepped to give the Pakistani opener another lifeline. And he made the most of the second bite at the cherry to score with conviction and at free will. “When I was caught behind, my heart sank,” he told Tribune. “I was stunned and slowly started making my way back to the dressing room with all my hopes and dreams crushed. I kept thinking how could I lose my wicket here, I was supposed to score big, not get out on three.”
Prior to his hundred, Zaman had already scored 31, 50 and 57 and was brimming with confidence. A chance to become a hero by doing well against India was an added booster – he admitted. “I had many plans in my mind for the final against India. I went out with the mindset that I will be doing my best in this match and will help Pakistan win the match,” he said. “A Pakistan-India game is a stage where if you do well, you’ll be hero.”
“I was playing my first match against India so I had to do more than the others, and my consistent performances before that game meant the team was relying on me.”
With second life coming his way, Zaman said he went after the Indian bowlers with renewed belief. “I just went hard after their bowlers like I do in domestic and club cricket,” he said. “I was given a lot of confidence by my teammates, especially by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, veteran Shoaib Malik and opening partner Azhar Ali.”
Despite it being the first 50-over final between the arch-rivals, he said there was no animosity between the two teams and the players. “On the day we played good cricket and we didn’t consider them as our enemies but instead the best team to play your best cricket against,” he said. “India’s players also played cricket with great spirit and I hope the match helps develop goodwill between the two nations,” he stated.