Mahmudullah-Shakib partnership against New Zealand
Perhaps one of the biggest turnarounds, and also one of the best match-winning partnerships of the Champions Trophy is Mahmudullah and Shakib al Hasan’s 223-run stand against the Kiwis in the group stage. It was a do-or-die encounter for both the teams in order to remain in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals but the Tigers were in a critical position coming into their chase of 266, reeling on 33/4 inside 12 overs. But the Mahmudullah-Shakib pair added a record partnership for the fifth wicket as both the batsmen struck hundreds to snatch a magnificent win for the Tigers, keeping alive their hope of progressing to the last four. Shakib however, was dismissed just nine runs away from the famous win for 114 but Mahmudullah remained unbeaten on 102.
South Africa’s early departure
Despite their record of choking in ICC events in the recent and distant past, South Africa entered the tournament as one of the favourites. But once again, for the umpteenth time, it was a rather sorry departure for AB de Villiers and his troop. Many would have expected South Africa to at least reach the last four from Group B but after winning their first game against Sri Lanka convincingly by 96 runs, the Proteas went on to lose the next two against Asian powerhouses Pakistan and India by 19 runs and eight wickets respectively. Their capitulation in the Champions Trophy surprised a lot of cricket lovers across the world, as they didn't choke this time around but were outplayed thoroughly.
Tigers' maiden appearance in an ICC semi-final
Two years prior to the Champions Trophy, there were a lot of speculations whether Bangladesh would be able to qualify for the flagship ICC event by securing a place in the top eight-ranked teams within the cut-off time. The Tigers not only managed to qualify for the tournament but went on to create headlines by reaching the semi-final in an ICC event for the first time in history. Mashrafe bin Mortaza and his troop played some fearless cricket and of course, luck was also a major factor behind their journey to the last four. Bangladesh posted over 300 against host England in the tournament opener but felt short at the end, while rain came in as a blessing for the Tigers against Australia. The point achieved against the Aussies eventually proved to be vital. Later, the memorable victory over the Kiwis secured the Tigers' passage to last four. Bangladesh were up against an in-form team India in the semi-final which they went on to lose by nine wickets. But overall, the Tigers' performance in the Champions Trophy will go down as one of the most significant achievements in the history of Bangladesh cricket, and undoubtedly, one of the most top moments of the tournament.
Fakhar, Amir steal final win for Pakistan
Since making his ODI debut in their first game against South Africa, Pakistan opening batsman Fakhar Zaman has shown glimpses of his talent right from the word go. The left-hander got starts, scoring back-to-back fifties against Sri Lanka and host England in the semi-final, but still, he had a lot to offer yet. The 27-year old did step up in just the right time, in the final of the tournament against arch-rival India. It was a treat to watch for the full house spectators present at Kennington Oval on Sunday as he punished the Indian bowling line-up with great authority. The cricketer from Mardan, the north-west frontier province of Pakistan, played some delightful strokes all over the park. Fakhar was eventually dismissed after scoring 114 off 106 balls, featuring a dozen fours and three sixes, thus laying the foundation for the huge total of 338/4 from 50 overs. The same can be said about Mohammad Amir, who broke the backbone of the Indian batting line-up with his three-wicket burst early in the innings. One by one, Amir dismissed Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan as India never really recovered in their chase of 339.
A perfect India-Pakistan final after a long time
Before the start of the Champions Trophy, being a true cricket lover, one could have only dreamt of a India-Pakistan final. The dream scenario eventually happened as millions of fans got to witness the epic final battle between the Asian arch-rivals. This was the first time in the history of 50-over cricket that these two teams contested the final of an ICC tournament. In the recent past, probably the 2007 World T20 final is the most exciting encounter between the two teams where India were triumphant by five runs.