Fakhar Zaman’s 114 runs from 106 balls against India in the ICC Champions Trophy final is now etched in the annals of Pakistan’s cricket history. His maiden century powered his side to 338/4 against arch rivals India and laid the foundation for their title triumph. Even with India’s batting prowess, it was a challenge to chase down the total. Mohammad Amir’s outrageous opening burst only made things worse for India, although the story could have been different.
Early in his innings, Zaman nicked one off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling and he began to walk back. India started celebrating. But the celebrations were cut short, when the umpire asked Zaman to wait as he wanted to confirm if the bowler had overstepped or not.
“When I was caught behind, my heart sank,” he told Tribune. “I was stunned and slowly started making my way back to the dressing room with all my hopes and dreams crushed. I kept thinking how could I lose my wicket here, I was supposed to score big, not get out on three.”
It was confirmed on TV that Bumrah had indeed overstepped. The umpires called the batsman back. Zaman got another opportunity and the southpaw didn’t hold back, making maximum use of it, adding 111 runs after the reprieve. He tonked the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground and expressed himself with renewed belief.
Zaman didn’t feature in Pakistan’s opening tie against India. In fact, he had no one-day international experience under his belt before playing this tournament, but he was one of the pillars for Pakistan’s sensational turnaround in the tournament.
“I had many plans in my mind for the final against India. I went out with the mindset that I will be doing my best in this match and will help Pakistan win the match,” he said. “A Pakistan versus India game is a stage where if you do well, you’ll be hero.”
Former navy man Zaman’s maiden one day century helped Pakistan lift their first Champions Trophy. Zaman finished as Pakistan’s top run-scorer in the tournament, ended up winning the Man of the Match award in the final and before he returned home, he was already a national hero.