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Graeme Smith hails the superlative effort of ‘scarred’ Pakistan team

Graeme Smith further commended the way Pakistani openers set the tone for a big total in the match.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Former South African skipper Graeme Smith joined the long list of people hailing the sensational win of the Pakistan team in the finals of the Champions Trophy 2017. They thoroughly outplayed their opposition and arch rivals India in the finals. In the semis, they had outclassed the mighty hosts England. Clearly, they deserved to win the title with the way they dominated the two favorites of the competition.

Smith wrote about the same in his column for ICC. He mentioned that the way opener Fakhar Zaman rose to the occasion on the day demands a lot of respect. He called the knock of 114 by the southpaw as an outstanding one. He further noted that the team did a great job by not letting their group stage defeat against India come to their minds on the day of the finals.

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Pakistan did not let the scars of that defeat bother them on the day when things mattered the most. In the group stages, team India had thumped Pakistan. Certainly, Sarfraz and co. managed to keep those unwanted memories aside in the crucial game.

“The batting was completely uninhibited by the occasion, and for Fakhar Zaman to come up with a mature display like that in just his fourth international innings is outstanding,” wrote Graeme Smith.

“Pakistan’s innings was characterized by intent, and a momentum which they maintained throughout. In the final, it found a way to turn it on as a team, and ensure that any scars from that game didn’t cloud their decision making on the field,” he wrote further.

Opening stand setting the tone

Graeme Smith further commended the way Pakistani openers set the tone for a big total in the match. Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman put on a century stand in the match. A century from Zaman, assisted by fifties from Ali and Hafeez helped Pakistan post a total of 338 on the board.

“The opening stand inevitably went a long way towards Pakistan securing such a daunting total, and it just shows the importance of someone in the top order cashing in, allowing players to come in later and play with the aggressive intent that Mohammad Hafeez showed so devastatingly today,” conceded Graeme Smith.

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