‘Players did a lot of hard work and that’s why we are champions’ — Sarfraz

Pakistan, South Africa

Pakistan thrashed arch-rivals India in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday (June 18) to claim their first major ICC ODI tournament title in 25 years and register one of the greatest comebacks in the history of 50-over cricket. After leading his team to a maiden Champions Trophy title triumph, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed gave credit to the team management for their efforts, youngsters for their performances and hoped that the victory will be remembered for ages to come.

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India were bundled out for just 158 in their pursuit of mammoth 338 set up by Pakistan, with none of their batsmen putting up a fight, except Hardik Pandya who made a gritty 76 off 43 balls.

“Hopefully this win, everyone will remember, not today, not tomorrow, (but for a) very long, long time.” Sarfraz said.

“After the loss to India, the morale was down and a lot of credit should go to the team management for the way they lifted the side. The boys have to be given credit as well, the way they got motivated after that, we played every single game, thinking this is a knockout game for us. We defeated good teams in this tournament. The players did a lot of hard work and that’s why we are champions.

“The youngsters we have – Hasan Ali, Shadab (Khan), Fakhar (Zaman) – that they are playing their first ICC event. No one thought we’ll perform like this. A lot of people thought we couldn’t defeat India. We lost the toss, we scored 338, the fielders caught well and the bowlers did their job as well.”

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Sarfraz also said the way his team has played despite coming into the tournament as a No.8 side is incredible, and that he hopes this triumph will help in reviving international cricket in Pakistan.

“When we arrived here, we were No. 8, and now we are the champions, so hopefully this win will boost up Pakistan cricket and hopefully all playing nations are coming to Pakistan.” he added.