Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Champions Trophy: Pakistan Punish Errant England, Reach Maiden Final

Google celebrates the ICC Champions Trophy with doodle, game Google Animated Logo For ICC Champions Trophy 2017
Clarence Duncan | 15 June, 2017, 01:28

Hosts England will meet Pakistan in the first semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff later today.

It's a clash between favourites and surprise package which makes the game impossible to predict, if it was a series then England would come on top easily but this is a matter of just one game and everybody knows what Pakistan is capable of doing on its day.

Sarfraz Ahmed's brilliant 61-run knock secured a semi-final berth for Pakistan, who beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets in the final Group B game. Sarfaraz's men, after beating South Africa and Sri Lanka, were confident about their winning momentum against unbeaten hosts England. Pakistan's bowling is clearly their strength and it has played an important role in both of their victories in the tournament so far. "They boosted us up really well".

Well there are reasons for calling Pakistan as unpredictable as on days they are too hot and on other days they are too cold.

Pakistan suffered a blow as Mohammad Amir was ruled out of the Champions Trophy semi-final against England at Cardiff.

The two teams met last time in a One Day International (ODI) in September previous year in Cardiff - the same venue for today's match - in which Sarfraz Ahmed's 90 and Shoaib Malik's 77 runs innings led Pakistan to a 4-wicket victory in a high scoring game.

Title-holders India play Bangladesh in Thursday's second semi-final at Birmingham's Edgbaston, with the final at the Oval in London on Sunday.

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. England are also good in their fielding department, whereas Pakistan was found wanting on the field, they dropped catches and gave away easy singles.

Jos Buttler (4), Moeen Ali (11) and Adil Rashid (7) fell quickly and Ben Stokes, one of the most destructive batsmen in the world, failed to hit a boundary in a scratchy 34 as the Pakistan bowlers dominated.

Openers Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) made it a comfortable chase from the start as Pakistan reached 215/2 in 37.1 overs in reply to England's unimpressive 211 all out - from 128/2 - with one ball left.

"Pakistan have played the flawless game - they're peaking at the ideal time". Pakistan will have to lift their batting at par with their bowling, given they are up against a batting-heavy team.

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