Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman responded to the pressure of opening against arch-rivals India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval on Sunday with a brilliant maiden one-day international hundred before falling for 114.
Nicknamed ‘soldier’ by his team-mates -- he was once a sailor in the Pakistan navy -- Fakhar, might have been out on three when caught behind but Jasprit Bumrah was denied a wicket by a no-ball after replays showed the pace bowler had over-stepped.
Fakhar, in just his fourth match at this level after making an ODI debut against South Africa earlier in the tournament, went on to play a series of fine strokes and completed a 92-ball hundred including two sixes when he swept off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for his 12th four.
He was, however, partly responsible for the run out of Azhar Ali (59) when his failure to respond to his partner’s call for a single ended an opening stand of 128.
The 27-year-old left-hander was eventually out when he sliced paceman Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, running back from point, held a well-judged catch.
Pakistan, however, were well-placed to set a challenging total at 200 for two off 33.1 overs after a second-wicket stand of 72 between Fakhar and Babar Azam.
Fakhar, who made his reputation in the Twenty20 Pakistan Super League, was called into the side after Ahmed Shehzad was dropped following Pakistan’s 124-run thrashing by title-holders India in the Asian giants’ Champions Trophy opener at Birmingham’s Edgbaston on June 4.
That match saw Pakistan bowled out for just 164 in what coach Mickey Arthur labelled a ‘shambolic display’.
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