Dropped catch costs Sri Lanka semi-final spot

Having swept aside all opposition in the group stage, hosts England are expected to face a strong pace attack when they take on Pakistan in the first semi-final of the Champions Trophy cricket on Wednesday. "I just said to Amir play your normal game", said Sarfraz, who kissed the ground after hitting the winning runs. And all that was done without their most risky bowler Mohammad Amir, who had to sit this semifinal out with a back spasm.

England were victorious over South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia, with their solitary loss coming against South Africa in a dead rubber (the final ODI of three-match series).

Many of those tickets are likely to be returned with India taking on Bangladesh the following day in the second semi-final at Edgbaston.

After being sent in to bat under cloudy skies in Wales, Sri Lanka were bundled out for just 236 but fought back strongly with the ball, reducing their opponents to 162/7 after 30 overs. England are also good in their fielding department, whereas Pakistan was found wanting on the field, they dropped catches and gave away easy singles. The Indian side that crushed Pakistan convincingly looked ordinary while being made to eat humble pie by Sri Lanka.

England's Ben Stokes scored a century as England eliminated Australia on Saturday.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said:" "We've got nothing to lose, yes, but we've always said we're in it to win it.

It then needed a tense win over Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Monday to qualify for the last four of a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day worldwide sides.

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.

"We certainly didn't want to be just making up the numbers in this competition, and we've shown that we weren't", said the South African, who took charge of Pakistan just prior to their tour of England a year ago. According to our predictions, England will win today as they play in their home crowd.

While Roy has failed, every other batsman has hit form with Alex Hales (151), Joe Root (212), Eoin Morgan (175) and Ben Stokes (150) among the top 11 tournament run-scorers.

Root fell when well set after an edged cut off leg-spinner Shadab Khan was well held by wicket-keeper Sarfraz. "We were probably soft at times yesterday (against Sri Lanka)", he said. Also the first time they batted 25+ overs without a six in this period.

  • Julie Sanders