Career Standout Moments: Mohammad Amir

Tuesday 5th March 2024

Pakistan versus India. The biggest rivalry and game in world cricket.

The stage was set in the 2017 Champions Trophy Final for one of the most remarkable spectacles in recent memory, as both sides faced each other at The Oval in a fixture worth so much more than just a trophy at the conclusion of the day’s play.

Both sides met in the group stages earlier in the competition, where India emerged victorious by 124 runs. Entering the final on 18 June 2017, barely anyone would have believed the outcome of the result, never mind how comprehensive Pakistan would have dealt with the Indian opposition with bat and ball.

After Pakistan posted an imperious 338 for 4 batting first, it was time for Mohammad Amir to step forward.

It was even doubtful how Amir would be able to perform, having only just recovered from a back spasm in time for the final.

The left-armer took the new ball for his country and produced one of the best spells of bowling, under pressure in a final, that has ever been seen.

His first over saw him bowl to Rohit Sharma who was averaging 76 in the tournament and in outstanding form, having scored 123 not out in his previous game.

Even a half fit bowler like Amir can cause teams problems and this is exactly what he did.

It took him just three balls to trap Rohit Sharma LBW with a ball that swung at searing pace. Even in the flattest conditions, Amir can make the ball do magical things, at magical times.

Amir’s next full over saw him bowling to the number one ranked batter in the world, Virat Kohli. With three fifties and a century in the tournament to his name, like Rohit Sharma, Kohli was in scintillating form.

Amir found the outside edge three balls into the over – only for the most regulation slip catch to be put down by Azhar Ali. Usually to players of Kohli’s calibre, not taking catches can be extremely costly however, Amir was in the mood.

The very next ball Amir beat the Indian captain for pace, forcing him to guide a leading edge straight to the hands of Shadab Khan at point. The left-armer had produced two outstanding deliveries in the space of nine balls to get rid of two of the world’s best players and leave India reeling at 6 for 2.

Somehow after Amir’s outstanding work, India were not out of the game just yet. Shikhar Dhawan had been at the non-striker’s end to watch two of his teammates depart,  but he also was in great form with 318 tournament runs at an average just under 80.

He would eventually become the premier Pakistan fast bowler’s third victim of the day, in Amir’s fifth over. Delivered beautifully in the corridor outside off-stump, the extra bounce cross-seam delivery tempted Dhawan to poke at the ball, but he could only feather an edge through to the joyous captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

These three wickets in the first nine overs of the innings left India precariously positioned at 33 for 3 and the new ball destruction from Amir resulted in India being bowled out for 158.

The left-armer’s match figures of 6-2-16-3 were a deserved reflection of how well he had bowled to dismiss three world-class batters, all in outstanding form.

Amir will join Derbyshire this summer, and with history of producing magical spells like this throughout his career, members and supporters could be in for a spectacle every time the Pakistan bowler has ball in hand.

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