Champions Trophy: ‘We wanted to inspire the whole nation of Pakistan’ – Mohammad Hafeez

Unbridled joy: Pakistans Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates with teammates after catching Indias Jasprit Bumrah out to clinch the match and the ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval, London. (Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire)
Unbridled joy: Pakistans Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates with teammates after catching Indias Jasprit Bumrah out to clinch the match and the ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval, London. (Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire)
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Mohammad Hafeez dedicated a stunning ICC Champions Trophy success to the public of Pakistan after thrashing India at The Oval.

Fakhar Zaman hit a maiden one-day international century to set up a thrilling victory against India, who had been strong favourites to lift a second successive title.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur with the ICC Champions Trophy

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur with the ICC Champions Trophy

However after being set 339 to win, India slumped to 158 all out as Hasan Ali claimed 3-19 to spark wild celebrations and an unlikely win following a poor start to the competition.

Hafeez, who made an unbeaten 57 off 37 balls, said the win was for the Pakistan public.

The former captain said: “It’s a great, great team effort from where we came from because we knew after losing the first game, we were nowhere.

“And then we just showed great, great character and I am really happy because it’s all for the nation of Pakistan because they’ve been waiting for such a long time.”

It’s a great, great team effort from where we came from because we knew after losing the first game, we were nowhere. And then we just showed great, great character and I am really happy because it’s all for the nation of Pakistan because they’ve been waiting for such a long time.

Mohammad Hafeez

He added: “We wanted to inspire the whole nation because we have been missing this for the last nine years with no cricket at home. I think this is something we wanted to do because the millions of people at home were waiting for this.”

Pakistan have been starved of international cricket in their own country since an attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, forcing them to play their ‘home’ series at neutral venues.

Coach Mickey Arthur praised the spirit of his side after they bounced back from a humiliating defeat to India at the start of the tournament to beat Sri Lanka, South Africa and England to reach the final.

He said: “It’s been an up and down ride for us but I’m just so proud of the boys. We dusted ourselves off after the defeat to India at Edgbaston and came back superbly. The whole group kept believing.”

India captain Virat Kohli, who was one of three batsmen dismissed in a devastating opening spell from Mohammad Amir, accepted his side had been a distant second best. “I want to congratulate Pakistan and their supporters,” he said. “They had an amazing tournament. The way they turned things round speaks volumes for the talent they have.”