Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir recalled his match-winning performance in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy where his spell shredded India’s top order and paved the way for Pakistan’s famous win. Amir, who recently announced his retirement from international cricket, picked up 3/16 from six overs, dismissing India’s top three – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – to reduce the opposition to 33/3 as Pakistan began their defence of 338.
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“When I held the ball, the first thought that came to my mind was how enjoyable it would be if I can get these three batsmen out that day. I was thinking about that while going back to my run-up,” Amir said during a conversation with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
“I knew Sharma struggles against in-swing. So, my plan was that I will not bring in the first two balls. I will make him feel that the ball is not swinging and will take the ball away with the angle. If you see the first two balls, I just took them away with the angle. The third ball I brought it in. So, that was the plan which worked.”
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Amir trapped Rohit out LBW third ball of the innings, followed by the wicket of the dangerous Kohli in his next over to reduce India to 2/6. Shortly after, the scoreboard read 54/4 and from there, it was all downhill for India. Hasan Ali bowled another terrific spell for Pakistan claiming 3/19 as India were bowled out for 158.
However, Amir’s dismissal of Kohli was a pivotal moment in the game. Earlier, after being put in to bat, Fakhar Zaman, who top scored with a century, was dismissed off a no-ball. Amir, who nearly had dismissed Kohli the ball before his eventual dismissal, realised he couldn’t have afforded to offer the India captain another lifeline and went towards his run-up.
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“Kohli came and when his catch was dropped, I remembered about Fakhar because he had got out to a no-ball and then scored a century. And I had not seen such a batting wicket at the Oval. So, while going to my run-up I was thinking that if Kohli stands there now, he will finish the match in 40-45 overs,” recalled Amir.
“When Kohli came to bat, I bowled him an in-swinger first and he was beaten. After that I had decided, I will not bring the ball in to him. Let him keep thinking that I will bring the ball in. The first one went to slip as it went out with the angle. The second one also I had thought I will bowl him the same but a little up and let him drive and wanted to take a chance for a slip catch.
“But Virat Kohli was already looking to play me towards the on-side. His body had already turned towards the on-side. But my ball was going away with the angle and I am thankful Shadab took a brilliant catch as it was a tough one.”