Indian skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for Pakistan cricket team that defeated the Men in Blue by 180 runs in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy at Kennington Oval on Sunday. The 28-year-old said the fighting spirit Pakistan displayed was a reflection of talent they posses.
Pakistan did not put a foot wrong in London and dominated the the title match from the word go even after they lost the toss and put into bat. Opener Fakhar Zaman, playing only his fourth One Day International, mixed fearlessness with sensibility and smashed 114 from just 106 balls to help his team post a mammoth 338 on board.
In reply, the Indian top-order was blown away by Mohammad Amir, after which the defending champions could never recover. The 180-run loss was also the biggest margin of defeat in an International Cricket Council tournament's final match.
"They [Pakistan] deserved to win. They certainly played very good cricket. They also needed victories like this for them as a team. So, you understand those dynamics as a team when, you know, things are not happening and you win a tournament like this. Yeah, credit to them for winning the title," Kohli said, at the post-match press conference on Sunday.
Pakistan came into the tournament as the lowest-ranked side (eight) and not many expected them to play the final after the 124-run defeat they faced in Birmingham against India in their tournament opener. However, Sarfraz's men buckled up and went past top-ranked teams like South Africa, England and India to finish as winners.
It was an all-round performance from the Men in Green and they only got better with every game in the tournament. While Fakhar won the Man of the Match Award on Sunday, pacer Hasan Ali, who finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps, walked away with the Player of the Tournament Award.
With very little exposure to playing in lucrative Twenty20 league across the world and lack of international cricket at home, the Champions Trophy win on Sunday was a remarkable feat for the young Pakistan side. Kohli added that the team with more intensity and passion won the all-important match in London.
"They [Pakistan] had an amazing tournament, the way they turned things around, speak volumes for the talent they have. They proved it again, they can upset anyone on their day, disappointing for us but I have a smile on my face because we played well to reach the final. Credit to them they outplayed us today in all departments. This is what happens in sport. We cannot take anyone lightly but they were more intense and passionate on the day," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.