Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs to cap a fairytale campaign and clinch the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time at the Oval in London on Sunday. India were the favorites going into the final as Virat Kohli's men had outplayed their arch-rivals in the group stage.
Sublime Pakistan rip apart India to lift Champions Trophy
The Men in Blue have had the better of Pakistan in major events of late too. But pretty much everything went wrong for Team India on the D-Day. Onmanorama picks five key points, which resulted in India losing the plot and coming second best to Pakistan.
Decision to field
Kohli's decision to bowl first backfired big time. In a big pressure game it is always safe to put runs on the board. But Kohli, who loves to chase, put Pakistan in to bat on a flat track with the sun beating down. The fact that his bowlers could not defend 321 against Sri Lanka on the same venue and the team's facile wins while chasing against South Africa and Bangladesh in their last two games could have prompted Kohli to field first. But just as in the 2003 World Cup final when Sourav Ganguly put Australia in to bat and were batted out of the contest, India had their back to the wall once Pakistan amassed 338/4.
Indisciplined bowling attack
In a big game team which does the simple things such as bowling to the field, cutting down on extras etc. has a better chance of coming out on top. Once Kohli put Pakistan in, the onus was on the Indian new ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to provide the breakthrough. Bumrah almost had Fakhar Zaman caught behind, but unfortunately the Indian pacer had overstepped. The left-hander, who was on 3, made the most of the reprieve and went on to score a brilliant 114. Zaman and Azhar Ali put on 128 for the opening wicket and laid a solid platform for Pakistan. The Indians did not help cause their one bit as they bowled 13 wides in addition to three no-balls. The no-ball menace had hurt India in last year's ICC World T20 semifinal loss to the West Indies and it returned to haunt them on Sunday.
Spinners rendered ineffective
Kohli was forced to bring on his premier spinner R. Ashwin as early the eighth over in order to separate Zaman and Ali. However, the experienced off-spinner resorted to a negative line of bowling on the middle and leg when he had a slip in place. Ashwin was happy to do the containment job instead of looking to get the batsman out. Once set, Zaman went after both Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja. The two spinners going for 137 runs off 18 overs without picking up a single wicket upset India's plans.
Top order crumbles against Amir
Whatever slim hopes India had of chasing down 339 rested on the in-from Indian top-three of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. But left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir blew away the trio in a sensational opening spell. He swung the ball at pace to trap Rohit in front of the wicket, then used the angle superbly to take a leading edge of Kohli after Ali had dropped him in the slips off the previous ball, and then produced one which bounced a bit more than Dhawan expected to have him caught behind. Amir's six-over burst of 3/13 pretty much ended India's hold on the trophy.
Yuvi, Dhoni cave in
Ahead of the final there were talks of how little time the Indian middle order comprising Yuvraj Singh, M.S. Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav had spent in the middle. Once Amir sent the top three packing, all hopes rested on the experienced duo of Yuvraj and Dhoni. But both surrendered meekly and at 54/5 in the 14th over, one of the most anticipated finals in world cricket was as good as over. Even a whirlwind 76 off 43 balls by Hardik Pandya down the order could not save India from the embarrassment of suffering the biggest-ever loss in an ICC Championship final. Jadeja refusing to sacrifice his wicket after a mix-up with Pandya summed up India's day.