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5 players who made their mark at Champions Trophy 2017

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Champions_Trophy_Best_CricketThe ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was filled with some memorable and thrilling performances by individual players throughout the course of its three weeks. Some shined for a game or two, while a few others managed to leave a significant imprint on the tournament. Here is a look at five of the latter players.

Hasan Ali (Pakistan)

Pakistan never ceases to surprise us by producing pace sensations literally out of nowhere. Hasan Ali, a hitherto unknown name in international cricket prior to the Champions Trophy, came in and ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker. While he did not have the outright pace of a Wahab Riaz or even a Mohammad Amir, Hasan did have excellent control and bowled with such precision that it was very difficult to hit him. He extracted great seam and swing movement, and troubled the best with his nagging lines.

After a decent performance against India in Pakistan’s first game of the tournament, he turned up figures of 3-24, 3-43, 3-35 and 3-19 in the following games. All of his spells turned out be match-winning ones and of special note was his economy rate of 4.29 – the best by any bowler to bowl more than two overs in the tournament. Truly, Hasan Ali is another feather in Pakistan’s illustrious cap of spectacular fast bowlers and one to watch for.

Shikhar Dhawan (India)

For the second time running, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan ended the Champions Trophy as the highest run-getter of the tournament. While the left-handed opener had amassed 363 runs in 5 matches in the 2013 edition of the Champions Trophy, he scored 338 runs from 5 matches at an average of 67.60 in this year’s tournament.

What’s significant here is that only about a couple of months back, Dhawan’s name wasn’t even in the reckoning for the Indian squad for the Champions Trophy. However, an injury to regular opener KL Rahul saw Dhawan being selected, amidst a lot raised eyebrows. Dhawan answered his critics in the best way he could- by piling loads of runs and, more importantly, looking in sublime form. He collected his 338 runs at a strike rate of 101.80 with one hundred and two fifties and looked really assured and confident at the crease.

This outstanding performance by Shikhar Dhawan, once again in the Champions Trophy, has now given a fresh lease to his international career.

Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan)

For quite a while, Pakistan had not been able to produce a quality limited overs batsman. The drought seems to have finally ended with the coming of Fakhar Zaman. The stylish left-handed opener may not be in the mold of the super elegant Saeed Anwar, but he sure does pack a punch.

After Pakistan lost their first match against India, the team management decided to give debutant Fakhar Zaman an opportunity. In his very first ODI against the formidable South African attack, Zaman impressed everyone with a solid 31. He then followed it up with scores of 50 against Sri Lanka, 57 against England in the semi-finals and an incredible 114 against India in the final at the Oval.

It goes without saying that it was Zaman’s inclusion in the team that provided the much-needed solidity in the Pakistan batting line-up and paved the way for their tournament triumph.

Tamim Iqbal (Bangaldesh)-

He has been the mainstay of Bangladesh’s batting for quite some time now and Tamim Iqbal showed why he is still the very best batsman in the country with his commanding performance in the Champions Trophy. In just 4 matches, Tamim smashed 293 runs at an average of 73.25 with one hundred and 2 fifties.

Oozing class and confidence, the left-handed opener dominated attacks with disdain and was the face of Bangladesh’s constant rise in the tournament and, with it, in world cricket as well. In the first game of the Champions Trophy 2017 itself, Tamim smashed a brilliant 128 against England and followed it up with a classy 95 against Australia. After a duck against New Zealand, Tamim came back strongly to strike a well-made 70 against India in the semi-final at Birmingham. He was clearly one of the biggest superstars for Bangladesh in the tournament and at 28 years of age still has a lot left to offer.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (India)

In the final of the Champions Trophy, while every Indian bowler was being hammered ruthlessly by Pakistan, it was only Bhuvneshwar Kumar who managed to hold his own and went for an economy of just 4.4. In fact, throughout the Champions Trophy, Bhuvneshwar was excellent and by far India’s best bowler on display.

On a comeback trail in international cricket, Kumar was brilliant with his lengths. Even when the conditions refused to offer any swing, he managed to generate good seam movement off the pitch. The most noticeable improvement about Bhuvneshwar, though, was the extra yard of pace he has added to his bowling. Notching up speeds in upwards of 140 km/h regularly, Kumar hurried batsmen and also bowled some great yorkers at the death.

All in all it was a great tournament for Bhuvneshwar Kumar where he ended up as the fourth-highest wicket-taker with 7 scalps in 5 matches at an average of 28.14 and an economy of 4.63. This young swing bowler is clearly on the rise.

 

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