England, Pakistan gear up for final berth

Pakistan, meanwhile, will have to overcome the loss of Amir from the side that defeated Sri Lanka at this same venue two days ago to secure their spot in this semi-final. "Hopefully Amir will recover for the final".

If Joe Root has been the most consistent batsman for England, he's been ably supported in the team's success by Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales.

Eoin Morgan's side produced a clean sweep of victories against Bangladesh, Australia and New Zealand to win Group A.

Pakistan, chasing a seemingly modest 237 to win, slumped to 162 for seven.

Mohammad Amir pulled out of Pakistan's Champions Trophy semi-final at Cardiff today with what his captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, reported as "a back spasm" as Pakistan won the toss and inserted England in Cardiff.

Pakistan, batting second as they will in this match, beat England by four wickets in an ODI at Cardiff previous year after chasing down a target of 303.

But with title-holders India playing Bangladesh in Thursday´s second semi-final at Edgbaston, there are concerns that Wednesday´s match at the 14,100 capacity Cardiff ground could be blighted by mass no shows.

As such, No.4 ranked England are firm favourites over No.8 ranked Pakistan.

England, the only team in the semi-finals with a flawless played three, won three group record, will be favourites on Wednesday and Arthur said: "We've got nothing to lose, yes, but we've always said we're in it to win it".

In the next over, Sarfraz took a brilliant catch diving to his right to dismiss the unsafe Dickwella off Amir's bowling.

He was replaced by Rumman Raees, while leg-spinner Shadab Khan came in for Faheem Ashraf.

Pakistan will now take on England in the first semi on Wednesday.

And he was missed again, on 40, when substitute Seekkuge Prasanna dropped a far more hard chance running in from deep square leg.

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.

"I am going to have a meeting with Sarfraz at 3, whether him and (Shoaib) Malik need to bat higher up is something we will discuss".

"I'd have no worries if Jonny has to open the batting", he said. "I certainly believe we're in a good position at the moment as a batting unit, and if Jonny does get the opportunity, I'm sure he'll take it with both hands".

England have won twice in the semifinal stage of the Champions Trophy, having played in three.

They thrashed Pakistan 4-1 in a bilateral ODI series previous year at home, including a world record score of 444 for three at Trent Bridge, which provides ample proof of their resurgence in recent times in a format they are still in the process of mastering.

  • Julie Sanders