Former South African captain Graeme Smith commended Pakistan’s batting performance in their 180-run win over India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Pakistan had set India a total of 339 to chase and that was powered by a century from opener Fakhar Zaman. “The batting was completely uninhibited by the occasion, and for Fakhar Zaman to come up with a mature display like that in just his fourth international innings is outstanding,” Smith said in a column he wrote for the official website of the International Cricket Council.
Smith said in the column that it was impressive the way Pakistan ensured that any “scars” from their previous match in the tournament against India, which ended in a 124-run defeat. “Pakistan’s innings was characterised by intent, and a momentum which they maintained throughout,” he said, “In the final, it found a way to turn it on as a team, and ensure that any scars from that game didn’t cloud their decision making on the field.”
He also pointed out that the opening stand of 128 runs was crucial to their victory. “The opening stand inevitably went a long way towards Pakistan securing such a daunting total, and it just shows the importance of someone in the top order cashing in, allowing players to come in later and play with the aggressive intent that Mohammad Hafeez showed so devastatingly today.”