Pakistan’s successful Champions Trophy saw them handing ODI debuts to three cricketers – Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, and Rumman Raees – in the miniature World Cup, whereas none of the other seven teams handed out debuts.
The opener left a mark on the international circuit as soon as he was handed an ODI debut in Pakistan’s second group-stage contest against South Africa. He struck a belligerent 31 to push the opposition’s strike bowlers back and followed up with his maiden ODI fifty against Sri Lanka at Cardiff. He went on to score 57 against England in the semi-final, that formed the basis of Pakistan’s first-ever 100-plus opening partnership in more than two years. But the pick of his performances was in the final of the tournament against arch-rivals India. Zaman was caught behind on three, but off a no-ball. He made the most of the second life and scored a thumping 114, that landed him Player of the Final award, as Pakistan set a 339-run target.
The all-rounder had gotten attention with a phenomenal 64 not out in Pakistan’s first warm-up against Bangladesh. He was handed the new ball for the practice game against Australia, but couldn’t impress. However, he bowled at immaculate lengths in his ODI debut against Sri Lanka, picking up two wickets for 37. He contributed 15 runs with the bat below the order.
The left-arm medium-paced bowler was handed a new ball in the crucial semi-final against England after Mohamamd Amir’s back spasm had ruled him of the match. He had bowled as the second change bowler in his previous List A contest, but Raees rose to the occasion and removed Alex Hales to provide Pakistan the all-important wicket early in the piece. He accounted for the wicket of Liam Plunkett towards the end of the English innings as the hosts managed a meagre 211.