How Mohammad Amir Bamboozled India And Planned Virat Kohli’s Dismissal in ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final
Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 decimating India by 180 runs in the final on June 18 at Kennington Oval in London with comeback man Mohammad Amir uprooting the famed Indian top order in a superlative display of pace, seam and swing. Left-arm pacer Amir picked the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli to shut the doors on India’s hopes after his team had scored 338/4 in 50 overs.
Now, almost five months later Amir has spoken in detail about the India-Pakistan final and the plan to stop Kohli’s team from achieving the target of 339. The Pakistani pacer pointed that Kohli is one of the best batsmen in world cricket today and his presence on the crease increases India’s chances of winning a match manifold.
“Everybody knows if you get Kohli, India is 50% out of the game. Until he is at the crease, India’s chances of winning are 70-80%. If you look at his chasing ratio, he is at the top of the world. He chases well, he performs well under pressure. So our plan was to get their top order – Dhawan, Sharma, Kohli, the guys who were scoring the runs in the tournament. My plan was that I didn’t want to save runs, I wanted to take wickets. If we could get one or two from the top, we could win the match,” he told ESPNCricinfo.
The Pakistani bowlers had come to the final with the plan to bowl out India as the wicket was a good one to bat on and chocking runs was extremely difficult. While Amir set back Rohit Sharma in the first over of India’s chase for a duck, he was aware that if Kohli got going the match and trophy would slip out of Pakistan’s hand. In his second over, a charged-up Amir came out firing on all cylinders but there was a major shock in store for him and his team when Kohli edged the third bowl of his second over only to see Azhar Ali drop a regulation catch in the second slip.
Even as Kohli breathed a sigh of relief, Amir thought that the game was as good as over. He went back to his run-up mark and charged in again to deliver another outstanding delivery that took the outside edge of Kohli’s bat and Shadab Khan took an easy catch at backward point to silence the Indian fans.
“When Kohli was dropped, I thought half the game was gone to be honest. Because he is the kind of batsman if you give him a chance, he won’t score less than hundred. Ninety-percent of the time, you give him a chance, he gets a hundred. Recently against New Zealand, they dropped him on 15 or 20 and he scored a hundred. He doesn’t give you a second chance. I remembered Fakhar Zaman and how he had been out on a no-ball and had then scored a hundred. That kind of thing happens when you are walking back, it came to me immediately and I thought I hope this doesn’t happen to us now,” he said.
“In my mind, I thought he’ll be ready for my inswinger, because the previous ball had been an outswinger. So I thought, 80-90% he would be ready for an inswinger. But I wanted to bowl at him in the same area, and move it away again. If you look at the clips of it, you can see he shaped to play it to leg, he moved to play it to on (side), thinking I was going to bring it in. My thinking was that if I bowl again in the same area, the same ball going away, he might go to play it thinking it is coming in, and edge it to slip again, but it went with the angle to point,” added Amir.
After Kohli’s departure for just five runs in only the third over of the chase, Amir picked Dhawan’s wicket to almost the shut the doors on India’s chances of lifting the Champions Trophy. Except for Hardik Pandya’s blitz of 76 off 43 balls, none of the other Indian batsmen troubled the Pakistani bowlers much. India managed to stay on in the field for only 30.3 overs and were finally bowled out for just 158 runs.