CT 17:Sarfraz leads by example, takes Pakistan to the semis

Pakistan finished at 215 for the loss of two scalps.

An unfancied Pakistan side thrashed England by 8 wickets in the first semi-final at Sophia Gardens on Wednesday to make it to the final which will be played at The Oval on Sunday. Left-hander Fakhar hit a six - something England didn't manage in their entire innings - when a top-edge off fast bowler Mark Wood flew safe.

The dashing Fakhar completed a 49-ball fifty to follow his 50 against Sri Lanka.

The same England batsmen, who batted with flair and finesse through the tournament, came a cropper in a high stake semi-final.

"Full credit to them, they outplayed us on this wicket. Every game is a knockout game and I told my boys to play their game and not worry about the result", he added.

Chasing 212 to win, Pakistan got off to a superb start as Zaman and Azhar amassed a 118-run partnership, during which both players brought up their fifties. Pakistan, however, ripped into their opponents easily when it was their turn to bat.

Pakistan, which can be shaky when batting second, has successfully chased down in three successive matches that included Ahmed's gritty half century against Sri Lanka after Pakistan had collapsed to 162-7 while chasing 237-run target. Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali had been the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan and each had three wickets to their name.

England expected to win the competition after consistent displays in the shorter forms of the game, but Pakistan were always one step ahead as they tactically outwitted the favourites. "I think the best thing about Pakistan cricket is that we can bounce back from any performance", Azhar Ali said after Wednesday's outrageously one-sided win. "The team management also kept motivating us". "250/270 would have been". The hosts could manage only seven fours in their final 30 overs and not a single six throughout.

Fahim Ashraf Pakistan Dinesh Chandimal Sri Lanka CT 2017
Fahim Ashraf will hope to keep his place in the Pakistan lineup Michael Steele Getty Images

England's decision to drop Jason Roy in favour of Jonny Bairstow (43) produced more runs at the top of the order, but the opening stand was brief as the normally reliable Alex Hales fell for just 13 - Rumman Raees (2-44) taking his maiden one-day global wicket.

English openers Jonathan Bairstow and Alex Hales made a decent start, making 34 before Rumman Raees sent the latter back to the pavilion courtesy of a Babar Azam catch.

England, who were 128 for two, lost their last eight wickets for just 83 runs.

0 - No batsman has ever faced more balls without hitting a boundary in a Champions Trophy match than Ben Stokes, who faced 64 balls against Pakistan, without one.

England captain Eoin Morgan, who made 87 against Australia, fell for 19 when, charging down the pitch to a wide ball from Hasan, he edged behind.

"Credit goes to the bowlers", Sarfraz said. Then Hasan came in and he took wickets.

Mohammad Hafeez, (left) celebrates hitting the winning runs with Babar Azam in their eight-wicket win over England in Cardiff.

  • Julie Sanders