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Last year in October, Pakistan suffered a loss to Zimbabwe in an ODI and slipped to ninth in the ICC rankings. Just four days before that game, Pakistan had qualified for the Champions Trophy as they were ranked eighth in the world.
Skip to June 14, 2017. Pakistan are in the final of the Champions Trophy. A turnaround in the tournament that only Pakistan could have completed. They suffered a disheartening loss to India their first game of the tournament. But, were on course of a win against South Africa which they eventually achieved after rain. Sri Lanka posted a small total and Pakistan were cruising in the chase before a batting collapse saw them needing 100 runs with only three wickets in hand. Sarfraz Ahmed did it for Pakistan.
A new team was born in that chase. Young Pakistan could win from every situation and that they should against England as well. The bowlers rattled the fancied line-up. Hasan Ali was the star with his three wickets. There was no Mohammad Amir in the playing XI but Rumman Raees made up for it with his two wickets.
If bowling was up to the mark, the batting was even better. They did not wobble in the chase of 212 runs like they had done against Sri Lanka. Fakhar Zaman, playing only his third ODI, scored his second fifty and set the platform for the chase. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam finished the chase. Not to forget the half-century of Azhar Ali.
Pakistan are into their first ever Champions Trophy final and will take on the winner of the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh.