Monday, 26 June, 2017

Champions Trophy: England have edge against Pakistan in first semifinal

Clarence Duncan | 14 June, 2017, 05:29

They've been playing really good cricket for the last two years.

When quizzed about the fragility of the team's batting line-up, Arthur said that "middle order has been exposed a bit" before suggesting that skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and experienced batsman Shoaib Malik might get promoted in the batting order. "Our domestic structure is not as good as other countries but we are still able to unearth such great talent". A 75-run partnership between Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and pace bowler Mohammad Amir led Pakistan to an incredible victory. Credit should go to Pakistan. "I know that people back home always pray for us and we will try not to let down the nation", said Sarfraz.

Pakistan looked well set to pick off the target and progress easily, particularly as Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman built a telling partnership based on precision placement and quick running between the wickets.

Sri Lanka were left rueing missed chances after dropping three catches in the field, knowing if they had won, it would have been them who reached the last four.

Sarfraz, who scored an unbeaten 61, was crucial to the nervy three-wicket win but was twice dropped when the match was poised on a knife edge.

In ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka has 59.9 winning percentage, better than Pakistan's 38.88. Despite a 74-run opening platform, they found themselves struggling at 110 for 4 in 20 overs. In a big tournament like this, they fought hard an inexperienced team. They have lost 211 wickets to seamers, averaged 36.88 runs per wicket and scored at 6.26 runs per over against them.

Ahmed held his nerve.

However, the loss of two wickets within three balls threatened to derail their attempt to post a high score as Mendis fell for 27 and Dinesh Chandimal followed him just minutes later without scoring.

Playing only his second ODI game, Zaman smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the park and got Pakistan off to a flier.

That they managed to hold their own in a match where there was quite a few twists and turns, should boost Pakistan's morale.

Dhananjaya De Silva (1) did not last long handing Junaid Khan his second wicket off a brilliant delivery as Sri Lanka had half their side down for just 162 in 33 overs.

Bangladesh have so far rode their experienced players' performances to book a semi-final berth albeit some assistance from rain in the game against Australia where they were down in the dumps when the skies opened up and points were split.

"We all play for Pakistan and no one loses the wicket deliberately, I am sure everyone will give his best".

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