London, June 18: Defending champions and title favourites India were badly bruised and battered by a spirited Pakistan as they were defeated by 180 runs in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday (June 18).
Chasing a daunting target of 339, India witnessed a rare batting collapse to be outclassed by Pakistan in the high-voltage game that became one-sided.
Promising young opener Fakhar Zaman slammed a super century to guide Pakistan to a challenging total against arch-rivals India after being invited to bat first.
Zaman, however, had his share of luck when he was got a breather at 3 after Jasprit Bumrah got him caught behind on a no-ball. The 27-year-old never looked back from then on and went on punishing Indian bowlers for Bumrah's folly.
Mohammad Amir then produced a fiery spell to push India on the back foot as Men In Blue couldn't recover from their early losses.
Barring Hardik Pandya, no Indian batsman managed to challenge Pakistan bowler and kept losing wickets at regular intervals to be bundled out for 158 in 30.2 overs.
Luck also seemed to have evaded the Indian cricket team as they never managed to pose any threat to Pakistan all through the match.
Here are 5 reasons for India's shambolic defeat against Pakistan in the final:
1. Decision to chase backfired
India skipper Virat Kohli's decision of inviting Pakistan to bat after after winning the toss backfired. Ideally, India should have stuck to the plan of batting after winning the toss because Pakistan is a really bad side when it comes to chasing.
Pakistan have always struggled to chase a total past 250 and a score past 300 could have helped given India the psychological advantage while defending the target.
Even in the previous game between the two teams, Pakistan won the toss and invited India to bat first. Team India posted a total past 300 and registered a 124-run win via Duckworth-Lewis Method against Pakistan in that game. Team India should have stuck to the same plan.
India, perhaps, became over-confident about their chasing skills and misread the pressure of a final game. Adding up to India's woes, Pakistan batsmen went on posting a mammoth 338/4 in the stipulated 50 overs.
Chasing a target past 300 is never easy and Team India succumbed to the pressure of chasing a daunting total.
2. Playing two spinners proved costly for India
The biggest set back that India faced in this tournament was the inability of their spinners to pick up wickets. Indian spinner were seen troubling against every opponent in this tournament and their story in the final against Pakistan was no different.
Indian spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja proved very costly against Pakistan and failed to take wickets.
Ashwin and Jadeja together leaked 137 runs from 18 overs against Pakistan and accounted for just 1 wicket.
The failure of Jadeja as well as Ashwin to take wickets and bowl economically further put pressure upon Indian pacers who also went for runs. Ashwin's 0/70 against Pakistan at The Oval is the worst performance from the off-spinner in the ODIs.
Therefore, India should have picked up an extra pacer instead of playing Ashwin for a simple reason that Pakistani batsmen play spinners better.
Kohli, therefore, should have gone with either Umesh Yadav or Mohammed Shami in the finals for Pakistan batsmen could have been troubled by pacers.
3. Jasprit Bumrah's No-Ball against Fakhar Zaman
Wickets on no-balls have always cost India in big matches. To freshen up your memories remember R Ashwin's no-ball against Lendl Simmons in last year's ICC World T20 semi-final.
Ashwin overstepped to give Simmons a reprieve when he wasn't settled at the crease. Having got a breather, Simmons then made India pay for their no-ball and knocked them out of the tournament.
Something similar happened during the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan and pacer Jasprit Bumrah was the culprit this time. Bumrah got Pakistan's in-form opener Fakhar Zaman caught behind the stumps when he was batting at 3 but Jasprit Bumrah had over stepped to be called a no ball.
The 27-year-old left-handed batsman made the most of the breather he got and made India pay for it as he added another 111 runs to his individual total from there on.
Bumrah has always had a penchant for bowling no-balls for he bowled a couple of them against Pakistan as well.
4. Mohammad Amir's fiery spell
Pakistan pace spearhead, Mohammad Amir was coming back into side after missing out the previous game due to spasm. But the left-arm pacer justified his skipper's decision of preferring him over Rumman Raees, who was particularly effective against England in the semi-final, with his superlative bowling spell.
Amir rattled the Indian top-order as he took the first three wickets to push India on the backfoot in the first powerplay. Pakistan came into the driver's seat as Amir scalped the big fishes in Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
Amir removed dangerous Rohit Sharma in the first over, got rid of Virat Kohli in his second over to push India to the wall. He looked very upset as Kohli was dropped at slip on the third ball of his second over, but the southpaw came back strongly and got rid of Kohli for (5) on the very next delivery to put his team in a commanding position.
Amir, later, claimed another in-form India batsman Shikhar Dhawan for 21. India could never recover from the three big jolts caused by the southpaw.
5. Kohli didn't think out of the box after top-order collapse
As India lost three wickets within ten overs, the skipper should have come up with an out of the box thinking in the run chase.
After the top order's rare blip, Kohli should have promoted Hardik Pandya or Kedar Jadhav in the powerplay above Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni.
Yuvraj and Dhoni's presence should have kept the Pakistani bowlers at the tenterhooks while Pandya and Jadhav's aggressive batting could have helped the team to recover from the early jolts.
Understanding the gravity of the matter the skipper as well as team management should have taken a bold move instead of sticking to a predictable line-up.
Kohli should have taken a leaf out of Dhoni's book from the 2011 WC final, when the skipper promoted himself above in-form Yuvraj to counter Muttiah Muralitharan's spin.