Fakhar Zaman cashed in on a major let-off to score his maiden ODI century as Pakistan set India 339 to win the ICC Champions Trophy final, at the Oval.
Fakhar (114) had just three to his name when he was caught behind off a Jasprit Bumrah front-foot no-ball, the opener punishing India by hitting three sixes and 12 fours off 106 balls.
Babar Azam’s 46 and a cameo from Mohammad Hafeez (57no off 37 balls) swelled Pakistan’s tally to 338-4 off 50 overs – the highest total in the entire tournament.
Hafeez picked up the mantle from the openers to take Pakistan’s total beyond 300
The best successful run-chase in an ODI at the Oval is currently the 322-3 scored on this ground earlier in the tournament by Sri Lanka over India.
Defending champions India, victors over Pakistan by 124 runs on DLS in the group stage, struck the first blow by winning the toss only to see Fakhar and Azhar Ali (59) counter and put on 128 for the first wicket.
The pair overcame a nervy start to reach fifties off successive deliveries, then powered on to post Pakistan’s highest opening stand against India in an ICC tournament.
India offered Fakhar little width and appeared to have dismissed the 27-year-old when he snicked through to MS Dhoni, only for replays to show Bumrah had over-stepped.
Fakhar Zaman earns a reprieve as he’s caught off a no-ball on three
A pushed-drive down the ground for four seemed to settle Fakhar’s nerves and he had the ideal foil in the more experienced Azhar, who posted his best ODI score against India.
The pair had already chanced several risky singles when the breakthrough came – Fakhar failing to respond to Azhar’s call for a leg-side run, ball-watching at the non-striker’s end, and running his partner out by two thirds of the pitch as Bumrah threw the ball in to Dhoni.
Fakhar failed to let the horror mix-up deter him – striking Ravindra Jadeja for six over long on and following up with a brace of boundaries as Pakistan raced up to 150 in the 26th over.
He reached his century off 92 balls by sweeping Ravichandran Ashwin for four and launched the spinner for six in his next over before aiming a huge blow off Hardik Pandya to leg only to top-edge into the off-side – ending a 72-run stand with Babar Azam.
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Fakhar left to a standing ovation and handed the baton to Babar, who saw Shoaib Malik hole out off the economical Bhuvneshwar Kumar before failing to clear the rope himself, caught off Kedar Jadhav at long off.
The momentum remained with Pakistan as Hafeez pummelled three sixes and four fours, putting on an unbroken 71 with Imad Wasim (25no) who enjoyed a remarkable slice of luck when a delivery from Bumrah bounced forcefully off his wicket without dislodging a bail.