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

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

India thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs in the teams' Champions Trophy tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4.

Openers Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) then helped knock off the inadequate total with nearly 13 overs and eight wickets to spare as England bowed out of their own tournament at the semi-final stage.

Since their dismal World Cup campaign in 2015, England have played a positive brand of cricket built on fearless batting, aggressive bowling and bristling intensity in the field.

Just as important for Pakistan is the significance of Hasan's dismissals.

Pakistan could face arch-rivals India in Sunday's final at the Oval if the title-holders beat Bangladesh in Thursday's second semi-final at Edgbaston.

1 Pakistan have entered the final of the Champions Trophy for the first time in eight tournaments.

As good as the Asian nation were, England were woeful with the bat as they chucked their wickets away, with eight catches and two run outs seeing them fall to an unremarkable 211. Ali followed ten-overs later for a classy 76.

There will be a lot of talk about the Cardiff pitch after Pakistan dumped out England. Pakistan, as they had when defeating England in an ODI at Cardiff past year, received plenty of crowd support.

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A breakthrough finally came when Jos Buttler stumped Zaman for 56 off Adil Rashid's bowling, but a partnership of 55 between Azhar and Babar Azam kept the pain coming for England.

It was just too easy for Pakistan, who won their third straight game at the tournament.

Their opposite number Bairstow - brought in to open for the first time in global cricket in place of the out-of-form Jason Roy - had responded with a battling 43, but on a used pitch that precluded fluent strokeplay as the ball swung too, England could never get a foothold and folded tamely in their attempt to set a defendable total. Before the final group match against Sri Lanka, Mickey Arthur had called Hasan one of the "beacons" of this Pakistan side and they were sentiments echoed by Sarfraz who praised the youngsters that have come good.

England didn't manage a single individual fifty in their innings.

For England, Joe Root (46), Jonny Bairstow (43) and Ben Stokes (34) were the major contributors to the cause.

Pakistan won the toss and made a decision to field first with Rumman Raees making his debut in the place of injured Mohammad Amir. They were the finalists in the last edition but lost to India.

Pakistan had collapsed to 162 for seven chasing 237 against Sri Lanka but, two days on, there was no repeat of that batting slump. Shadab is also improving day by day, and now today Fakhar Zaman.

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