Defending champions India were handed a massive 180-run defeat by arch-rivals Pakistan in the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy. A resurgent Pakistan team completely outplayed India in all departments to register a clinical victory in the title clash. Pakistan's emphatic win helped them clinch their maiden Champions Trophy title. Pakistan's victory was spearheaded by opener Fakhar Zaman's scintillating ton and impressive bowling by their seam attack.
Here are ten major reasons behind why defending champs India lost the title clash to arch-rivals Pakistan
# Blistering opening partnership by Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali
Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali strung together a formidable opening partnership to lay a strong foundation for the team.Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali got stuck into the Indian seam attack and tonked them to all parts of the ground with some belligerent hitting. Fakhar Zaman showcased a lot of maturity and composure to occupy the crease and go on to score his maiden ODI hundred. Meanwhile, Azhar Ali provided good support to his more flamboyant partner.
# Fakhar Zaman's maiden ODI ton
Pakistan batting sensation Fakhar Zaman showcased his wide range of destructive strokeplay by notching up a sensational century in the finals against India. Zaman who had made a mark in the tournament with two quick-fire half centuries continued his splendid form to deliver the goods against arch-rivals India in the grand finale. Zaman's maiden ODI ton provided the much-required impetus to the Pakistan batting order to build on a strong foundation and guide their team to a herculean total.
# Indian seam attack looked below par in the finals
Indian seam attack who were potent all through the tournament looked below par in the final against Pakistan.Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah both of whom extracted a lot out of the decks in England looked pretty flat in their opening spell against Pakistani openers.The Pakistani openers toyed with the Indian attack in the opening powerplay to their line and length. As Indian seamers were unable to make initial breakthroughs, they were put on the backfoot from the very start of the game.
# Defensive captaincy by Virat Kohli
When the mainstream bowlers were going for plenty Virat Kohli became overly defensive by continuing with them and certainly missed a trick in introducing Kedhar Jadhav early.Jadhav has been India's go-to man when it comes to breaking partnerships all through the tournament. Jadhav had been making crucial breakthroughs for the Men in Blue in the group games. Kohli could have certainly brought Jadhav a little early to put brakes on the scoring rate or maybe get a wicket from Jadhav's left arm spin.
# Mohammad Amir's Opening burst
India had a herculean task at their hands chasing an imposing 338-run total.The only chance India had to get to the mammoth total was to get off to a good start by the openers. Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir had other ideas and ripped through the defences of the Indian top order by scalping three crucial wickets.Amir accounted for Rohit Sharma, then scalped the prize wicket of Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
# Collective batting failure by Indians
The Indian team had their task cut to go after the Pakistani bowling to have any chance of scaling the 338-run target.However, none of the Indian top order batsmen went on to register a good knock as the Pakistani seamers kept on pegging the Indians back with regular strikes. The Indian batting which fired all through the tournament failed miserably when it mattered the most. Mohammed Amir got early wickets to dent the formidable Indian top-order.
# Hasan Ali's inspirational spell in the middle overs
Hasan Ali one again complimented the pace duo of Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir well by making regular inroads into the Indian middle and lower order. Ali accounted for MS Dhoni at a critical juncture of the game and then polished off the tail by scalping Jasprit Bumrah and . Hasan Ali has been Pakistan's leading wicket-taker in this edition of the Champions Trophy.
# India's spin ace Ravichandran Ashwin completely out of sorts
A lot was expected out of India's ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who generally is among the wickets in major ICC tournaments. However, Ravichandran Ashwin looked below par all through this tournament and proved expensive in the finals against Pakistan. The Pakistani batsman went after Ashwin right from his first over and hit him all over the park for a flurry of boundaries. India was taken off guard with their frontline spinner being hit for plenty. Ashwin went for 70 runs
#Shadab Khan casts web around Indian middle order
Shadab Khan, the sixteen-year-old leg spinning sensation proved to be a big match player in the grand finale. Shadab Khan who has been hailed as the next big thing in Pakistan cricket came to the fore by showcasing his variations with the ball to bamboozle India's premier batsman. Shadab cast a web in the middle overs after the Pakistan seam attack dented the Indian top order.
#Sarfaraz Ahmed's splendid captaincy
Sarfraz Ahmed has proved cricket pundits and fans across the world that he is a quality captain who brings the best out of his side when it matters the most at the big stage. Sarfraz Ahmed brought his thinking abilities to the fore by selecting the best playing eleven in the finals against India. He set attacking fields for his pace attack which helped them make regular dents into the Indian batting order. He backed his batsman to play a free-flowing style of cricket which helped Pakistan seize the initiative right from the beginning.