Pakistan thrash England to reach CT final for 1st time

Lynette Rowe
June 15, 2017

England captain Eoin Morgan said Tuesday there was a "chance" Jonny Bairstow could replace the struggling Jason Roy for the Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan in Cardiff on Wednesday.

England is the only team to exit the group stage unbeaten, having won all three of their matches.

Sarfraz, meanwhile, probably wishes he could bat at Cardiff all the time, with the wicketkeeper having made 90 on the same ground a year ago as Pakistan chased down a target of 303 against England in a four-wicket win that prevented a 5-0 ODI series whitewash.

In reply, Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali shared a stand of 118 to lead Pakistan to their target.

FAST bowlers Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel and Nuwan Pradeep have been the leading wicket-takers in Group B games against Pakistan with three each. Pakistan, by contrast, suffered a 124-run thrashing by title-holders and rivals India in their opener before, just days later, upsetting the ranking in a bottom versus top contest by beating South Africa.

But the way Pakistan collapsed to 162 for seven chasing 237 in their virtual "quarter-final" against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Monday before winning by three wickets would have given England a degree of hope.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said he would be glad if Roy was left out. "Now we are in the final", he said.

Pakistan have a potent pace bowling attack in Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali with Faheem Ali adding a fourth dimension to the triumvirate.

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"Today was a flawless performance from all departments", said Azhar. "He's our best strike bowler".

Sarfraz Ahmed, thanks to some poor catching from Sri Lanka, eventually guided Pakistan home, but the team in green will know they need to bat a whole lot better if they are to beat this England team. We continue to learn, everything we did was calculated, but Pakistan had played on the wicket previously and that helped. "It was a wonderful performance".

"Sometimes that's our strength, our unpredictability", said Arthur.

"After the first loss, we are very down, but credit goes to the team management", said Sarfraz. They were very motivated. So I think his all-round ability is as good as we have in the squad.

And their fans are calling for a rematch against India. They've been playing really good cricket for the last two years. "Now we are in the final".

England, who have been routine collectors of 300-plus scores since the last World Cup, have rarely looked as subservient since they adopted a more daring brand of one-day cricket largely fought out on more batsman-friendly surfaces.

It is something they appreciate more than most after a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore turned Pakistan into a "no-go area" for the world's top teams, with the United Arab Emirates now their adopted "home".

After electing to bowl first on an abrasive wicket, flooring England's much-vaunted batting line-up for such a low total was a stunning display against a side many saw as the hot favourite for the coveted crown.

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