Quamrul Hassan: Unpredictable Pakistan did the unthinkable once again on Sunday as they handed archrivals India a crushing 180-run defeat to win their maiden Champions Trophy title.
When the teams had met in the group stages, Pakistan suffered a humiliating defeat, but they gradually improved their performance and by far were the better side in both the semifinal and the final.
Winning the toss in the final at Oval, India skipper Virat Kohli invited Pakistan to bat first. The idea was to restrict their nemesis to a modest total and chase it down, with arguably the world's best batting line-up.
But Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman made 128 in the first wicket to unsettle the Indians.
Azhar fell victim to a run out when he was on 59, but Fakhar, the tournament's biggest batting revelation, hit his maiden century to keep the run wheel going.
Fakhar's 114 came in 106 balls, thanks to 12 fours and three sixes, before Hardik Pandya put an end to the opener's match-winning innings.
Babar Azam added 46 while Mohammad Hafeez slammed 57 in 37 balls with four fours and three sixes to take the Pakistan side to 338 for 4. Imad Wasim also scored a helpful 25 off 21 balls.
Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kedar Jadhav bagged one wicket apiece.
Chasing 339, which would have been a record on the ground, the India top-order was floored by fit-again Mohammad Amir.
The speedster trapped last match's centurion Rohit Sharma leg before in the innings' third ball and made Kohli give a catch to Shadab Khan in the third over to silence the Indian fans at the Oval.
When Amir struck again to get Shikhar Dhawan (21) caught behind with the score on 33, India were looking for help from veterans Yuvraj Singh and former captain MS Dhoni.
But both of them were removed by Shadab in quick succession and although Pandya hit a 43-ball 76 with four fours and six sixes, in-form Hassan Ali moped the tail to hand India a defeat they would want to forget.
The three wickets Hassan claimed on the day took his tournament tally to 13, the highest in the event, which won him the Golden Ball.
Fakhar was adjudged the man-of-the-match for his brilliant ton while Dhawan won the Golden Bat for being the highest run-getter.