England crash out of Champions Trophy as Pakistan charge into final

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 15, 2017

However, Pakistan's power-packed line-up of fast bowlers is offset to some extent by the lack of too much firepower in their batting.

They will be up against a Pakistan side in good form and full of confidence from their wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is wary of the threat posed by England ahead of today's Wednesday's Champions Trophy semi-final in Cardiff.

Nonetheless, it's surely going to be a heated battle, host against the unpredictable Pakistan, anything can happen, predict the unpredictable.

Mohammad Amir, who is suffering from back spasm, has been left out and Rumman Raees has replaced him.

The main scorers for England were Joe Root (46), Jonny Bairstow (43), Ben Stokes (34) and Eoin Morgan (33).

Notwithstanding Pakistan's remarkable turnaround after an embarrassing loss to arch-rivals India in their tournament opener in Birmingham, hosts England will take to the field at Sophia Gardens with their nose ahead.

Fakhar hit Mark Wood for the first six of the match in the opening over of Pakistan's innings and he and Azhar played some delightful strokes in a fluent partnership. Babar Azam scored 38 while Mohammad Hafeez made 31 off just 21 balls. I don't think we played anything rash today.

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While Pakistan look ahead to Sunday and a possible reunion with India - Virat Kohli's side take on Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday - England must reflect on how the bubble of their two-year resurgence burst.

And Pakistan's gamble on youth and inexperience during this tournament was again vindicated by both Shadab (1-40) and dashing opener Fakhar Zaman, who clobbered a run-a-ball half-century less than a week after making his ODI debut.

Bairstow had his scrapes from the outset, narrowly avoiding a second-ball duck when Junaid Khan's review for lbw achieved only an umpire's call survival - and then twice dropped, at midwicket and slip, before pulling the third ball of Hasan's first spell straight to deep square-leg.

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

"Every game is a knockout game and I told my boys to play their game and not worry about the result". Their highest scorer (captain Sarfraz Ahmed) in the tournament does not figure in the top 20 run-getters, and just two players figure in the top 30.

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.

"England got stuck in the middle period after starting well, and then were well set at 100-2 but we lost our way in the middle period".

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