Naseer Hussain says disrespectful to Pakistan to blame pitch for England's defeat

For the first time ever, Pakistan has qualified for the Champions Trophy final, after thrashing England by eight wickets in the all-important semi-final in Cardiff on Wednesday.

The eight-wicket victory at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff was made possible with the likes of fast bowler Hasan Ali, opening batsman Fakhar Zaman and young spinner Shadab Khan.

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.

Pakistan bowlers chipped away at the wickets at regular intervals and aided by some good fielding, curtailed England for what was their lowest total in the tournament.

"I thought we bowled okay but certainly defending 200 we have to produce a well above-par bowling performance".

"We knew we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament".

Morgan did not absolve his team of blame, adding: "We left ourselves short adapting to conditions".

The Green Shirts tremendous win ensures a final berth in the mega event where they await the victor of the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday (tomorrow). "That's why we won today", he added.

3 - No. of players to make their ODI debut in this Champions Trophy, all for Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf and Rumman Raees.

Now England's wait will continue until at least 2019 - when they stage the next World Cup.

It was an outcome which confounded nearly all predictions after England had breezed through the group stages - while Pakistan began their campaign with a landslide defeat against India and sneaked into the last four only when they beat Sri Lanka by three wickets at this same venue two days ago.

"But coming from Edgbaston (where they beat Australia on Saturday), it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce and too much of an ask for us to adjust to really".

"Finishing third or fourth, I think that's about right where we sit in world cricket at the moment".

"We were disappointed not to beat Pakistan, because we had been playing well enough, but we still have a bit of work to do. With the team it has and the way it plays, it is a very unsafe side, and I certainly think playing this way, aggressively and with intent, is its best chance of winning a tournament".

Sarfraz rescued Pakistan with an unbeaten 61 after they collapsed against Sri Lanka but, two days on, there was no repeat of that batting slump.

Bangladesh is the TAB's $5 rank outsider in its semi-final against India tonight, but such is the unpredictable nature of 50-over cricket that the price looks generous.

Speaking after the match Sarfraz said: "After the India match, we just motivated the guys".

"May the best team win", he said in an interview to the ICC, before admitting that he wanted to face title defenders India.

  • Julie Sanders