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Champions Trophy Final: Virat Kohli's overconfidence in run chases plays into Pakistan's hands

India Today logo India Today 19-06-2017 Rohan Sen
© Reuters

Team India is considered to be one of the most dangerous sides in limited-overs cricket and that is mainly due to the presence of Virat Kohli in the star-studded batting lineup. But it was probably their overconfidence which led to their downfall in the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan.

Complete coverage: ICC Champions Trophy

Kohli won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat, a decision which was met with huge cheer from a majority of Indians present at The Oval. But chasing in a big ticket match is always a tough ask no matter how much batting depth you have in the team and the move completely backfired on India.

India had committed the same mistake in the 2003 World Cup final when Sourav Ganguly won the toss and put Australia in to bat who then went on to post 359/2 in 50 overs. Scoreboard pressure got to the Indians, who had the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh in the lineup as the team folded for 234, losing the match by 125 runs as a result.

Slideshow: India vs Pakistan — Match in pics

Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan poses with the trophy. India vs Pakistan: Match in pics

Kohli's team suffered the same fate against Pakistan, who reached 338 in 50 overs losing just four wickets. Kohli, the best batsman in the world in run chases, failed miserable and so did the in-form Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

Mohammad Amir's game-changing spell early on in the innings derailed India's chase as he removed the top three inside the first 10 overs, ending the contest there and then. Rohit got out in the first over for a duck, while Kohli departed for 5 and Dhawan was dismissed for 21.

The middle order crumbled under pressure from there on with Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni also failing to live up to the expectations. Hardik Pandya was the only batsman who took up the challenge and put up a fight with a quickfire 43-ball 76 but his run out was probably the final nail in the coffin for India as they got out for 158 in 30.3 overs, losing by a huge margin of 180 runs.

Watch: Pak steamroll India to claim CT title

(Video provided by Times of India)

Replay Video

Amir and Hassan Ali finished with three wickets each while Shadab Khan picked up two wickets to script a memorable win for the Men in Green.

Pakistan were the lowest ranked team in the tournament and had suffered a 124-run loss against the same opponents in their very first game. But the way they fought back from that point onwards beating teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka and England to reach the final was a commendable effort. And then to crush the tournament favourites and defending champions India the way they did in the summit clash was simply outstanding.

Kohli had said time and again that his team always treats a game against Pakistan like just another cricket match. The high-profile contest and the hype surrounding an Indo-Pak clash never gets to the Indian team, which is fine in a way.

But the way they played in the final seemed as if India took Pakistan too lightly. Sarfraz's team was clearly more charged up and hungry to win the match than Kohli's boys. The young guns in Pakistan's team - Fakhar Zaman, Hassan Ali, Shadab Khan and Azhar Ali stepped up on the big occasion while Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were the calming influence on the field.

Sarfraz himself was superb as a captain with accurate field placements and regular changes in the bowling attack. Each of his moves paid rich dividends and even the DRS call against Yuvraj was spot on thanks to Shadab's quick interference, who told his captain to go for the review. Fortune favours the brave which is why all the umpiring decisions, DRS review and some luck while batting went their way on the night.

On the other hand, Kohli was left scratching his head and was seemed lost for answers against a rampaging Pakistan. Kohli and his team won nothing but the toss against Pakistan, and the biggest mistake was probably committed there and then when they opted to chase instead of batting first.

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