London, June 18 (IANS) Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed hailed his side’s character and belief as they delivered a brilliant performance to hand defending champions India a 180-run thrashing in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament here on Sunday.
Pakistan, ranked eight in the tournament, had opened the group stage campaign with a huge loss of 124 runs via Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method. But they turned it around in style as they topped South Africa (19 runs via D/L method), and Sri Lanka (three wickets) to enter the semi-finals where they got the better of hosts England by eight wickets.
They didn’t stop there as they came out with their best show in the final to bag their first Champions Trophy title.
And the captain credited his men for the strong comeback. “After the India (group) match I said to my boys, the tournament is not finished yet. I told them trust their talent. We played very well and now we have won the final,” Sarfraz said.
“We played like we had nothing to lose, now we are champions. It’s a very proud moment for me and my country, and thanks to the nation for supporting us,” the wicket-keeper added.
Sarfraz, who had captained Pakistan to Under-19 World Cup 2006 triumph, especially credited the bowlers for dismissing India for 158.
“All credit goes to my bowlers, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shadab, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, they bowled really well. It’s a young team, credit goes to my boys, this tournament can be a great booster for us.”
He also felt that Fakhar Zaman, who scored 114 in the final, has the credential to serve Pakistan cricket for a long time.
“Fakhar is a great impact player. In his first ICC event, he played like a champion, he can be a great player for Pakistan,” Sarfraz added.