Sarfraz, Amir guide shaky Pak into semis

England is now in fabulous form and Pakistan need to do something extra ordernary to win 1st semi-final match at Cardiff on Wednesday because English team is way better than Sri Lanka.

They were helped along the way by Sri Lanka, who dropped Sarfraz twice off Malinga; the chance grassed by Thisara one he'll never forget.

"If you look at the game we started well but after Fakhar Zaman got out we lost the momentum and then most of our dismissals were soft which definitely is an area of concern for us", ESPNcricinfo quoted Sarfraz as saying in the post-match press conference.

Now Pakistan will play hosts England for a place in the final.

Earlier, Fast bowlers Hasan Ali (three for 43) and Junaid Khan (three for 40) claimed three wickets each, while Amir and Fahim Ashraf accounted for two wickets each to help Pakistan bowl out Sri Lanka for 236 after electing to field.

Pakistan, chasing a seemingly modest 237 for victory, were on the brink of defeat at 137 for six. However, the all-rounder somehow managed to drop the simple catch.

India meet Bangladesh in the other semi-final, at Edgbaston on Thursday, with the final at the Oval on Sunday.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka started solidly before collapsing from 161-3 to 167-7 after 35 overs, unable to cope with left-arm quicks Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir.

However, Pakistan bowlers hit back and triggered a middle-order collapse before Asela Gunaratne (27) and Suranga Lakmal (26) tried to save the blushes for their side and guide them past 200-run mark.

Sarfraz heaped praise on Mohammad Amir for hanging on till the end as they shared a 75-run partnership for the eighth wicket. "Pakistan has a unsafe bowling attack, like it has had over the years, and there is a little bit of experience in its batting", Bond wrote. Hasan Ali (3/43) also bowled brilliantly.

England lead the head-to-head battle with a 6-4 record against Pakistan in ICC tournaments.

England will fancy their chances of extending the search for an elusive major global ODI silverware despite drawing a mercurial Pakistan in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy on Wednesday.

Among the quartet to fall for Sri Lanka included their skipper Angelo Mathews for 39 and opener Niroshan Dickwella for 73. Mathews, who hit one six and two fours, edged the ball back onto his stumps against Amir to end a fourth-wicket partnership with Dickwella of 78 in 16 overs.

In what turned out to be a brilliant all-round match for wicket-keeper Sarfraz, he held a superb low one-handed catch to dismiss Dickwella after the batsman got an inside edge to Amir.

  • Zachary Reyes