The rise of Hasan Ali: from the sidelines to Champions Trophy’s top bowler

Hasan Ali hasn’t been the same since he was hit for 70 runs by rival India in Pakistan’s crushing defeat in their Champions Trophy opener.

He’s got much better.

The right-arm paceman finished with sobering figures of 1-70 off 10 overs at Edgbaston as India beat Pakistan by 124 runs. Few could have predicted that, 10 days later, he would be the tournament’s top bowler heading into the final.

Hasan has bounced back from that onslaught by taking three wickets from each of his next three games, including 3-35 at Sophia Gardens on Wednesday as Pakistan thrashed England by eight wickets in the semi-final.

Hasan has 10 wickets, one more than Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.

It was the eighth time that Hasan has collected three wickets or more in his 20 ODIs, and teammates see much more to come from the 23-year-old bowler.

“I think the good thing about Hasan is that even (when) someone hits him for a four, he comes back and returns with hard lengths and I think this is what a cricketer requires,” Shoaib Malik said.

Hasan Ali celebrates taking the wicket of England's Eoin Morgan for 33 runs.— AFP
Hasan Ali celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Eoin Morgan for 33 runs.— AFP

“I think this (his emergence) is something marvellous for Pakistan cricket.”

Just as important for Pakistan is the significance of Hasan’s dismissals.

On Wednesday, he took three of England’s four top-scorers Jonny Bairstow (43), Ben Stokes (34) and Eoin Morgan (33).

His sole wicket against India was the dangerous Yuvraj Singh (53), followed by 3-24 in eight overs against South Africa, where he bowled Faf du Plessis for 26.

In Pakistan’s final group match against Sri Lanka, Hasan took 3-43.

That made an overall tournament performance of 10-172 off 38 overs. And Hasan will hope to add to that haul, especially if India is Pakistan’s next opponent.