The dismal beginning of Pakistan’s journey in the ICC Champion Trophy made it hard for anyone to believe that we would be the first team to qualify into the final of the tournament. Our batting was in shackles and our bowlers brutally beaten by the inordinate batsmen of India. However, what happened after the match still seems like a fantasy, a fantasy which we aspire to experience every time.

The team which came to battle with the world No 1 South Africa embodied a fierce group of warriors who were ready to give it their all. First defeating the ruling leaders then ambushing the Tamil tigers Sri Lanka and finally putting the last nail in the coffin by beating the unbeatable England.

Pakistan team carved out a roller coaster ride for the fans whose hearts sank and rose after every wicket and after every run. But one cannot credit these inexplicable victories to luck only, it was an amalgamation of diligence, dedication and unflinching faith. The energy which the youngsters brought into the ground translated into extra ordinary wins. While the whole team gelled together as a unit which enabled them to defeat the giants, some deserve a special mention for turning the game around at the right time.

Hasan Ali

The 23-year-old-from Gujranwala exhibited his love for the game and his country through his electric bowling spells which absolutely baffled the international batsmen. Be it Morgan or Ben Stokes. The youngster is now the leading wicket taking bowler in the ICC Champions Trophy after his three-wicket haul in the match against England. His blazing attitude, insurmountable energy and perfect in swing Yorkers has made him a top pick. His style of celebration has also gained a lot of popularity amongst the commentators who consider it to be a mix of Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi. He sure is a genuine find for the future!

Rumaan Raees

He proved his mettle in PSL while playing for Islamabad United and he is back with a bang in the champion trophy as well. He provided Pakistan the necessary breakthrough by providing Pakistan the expensive wicket of Alex Hales who has the potential for becoming a nightmare for the bowlers. Raees’s ability to dazzle batsmen with a mixture of slower ones and full swing Yorkers makes him a lethal opponent. Although he has just played one match in the tournament but his ability reflects his potential to be a new favorite.

Fakhar Zaman

After ages there is finally a BATSMAN to talk about. It still seems unreal that we finally have someone in our top order who is ready to play rather than take selfies only. Zaman has proven to be a ray of hope for the dreary batting line up which has crumbled time and again during crunch situations. The opening batsman hits some long sixes across the rope and also has some stylish shots in his pocket. The admirable factor about his batting is how he brings stability into his batting by applying a variety of shots across the field. He successfully carves out singles and doubles after hitting some big shots. In both the matches of the champion’s trophy he has scored a half century helping Pakistan to build a solid foundation.

Shadab Khan

An 18-year-old with prodigious amount of talent, the young find has truly come out to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. The right arm leg break bowler made his debut against West Indies in 2017 and after that there was no looking back for him. Shadab has been a quintessential part of the team since his debut. He was even picked up for the under 19 world cup in 2016 and he became the highest wicket taking bowler of the tournament. Shadab’s clever maneuvering of the ball helps him to get important wickets in the middle and enables him to provide a breakthrough.

Mohammad Amir

While his comeback was rather disappointing as he failed to display the same zeal in his bowling which he once possessed but he was finally show his abilities in the mega event. Amir’s devastating bowling spell against Sri Lanka provided an opportunity to Pakistan. Not to mention his batting cameo later in the inning which actually allowed Pakistan to win the almost lost match. The positive aspect of Amir’s performance is his developing capabilities in all fields whether bowling, batting or fielding.

Sarfraz Ahmed

Last but not the least the captain himself, time and again Sarfraz has proven that he will not give us “dhoka.” As a captain Sarfraz’s win percentage is 87%. He provides the necessary support to the senior and junior players of the team and his field placements during the tournament have been appreciated by cricket pundits. As a player Sarfraz has proven to be a valuable asset, he constantly rotates the strike keeping himself busy on the field and making sure the run counter keeps on ticking. The captain played a true captain’s knock against Sri Lanka paving way for vital win and now he is ready to show his magic in the finals.

Our next big challenge is India, it is time we change the historic record of never winning against India in an ICC tournament and finally show them our champion side. We have the talent, the energy, the vigor and some irresistibly good players who can make this happen. The only question remains will these talented boys hit the right spot on Sunday?