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Champions Trophy: Sarfraz powers shaky Pakistan to semis

18 Juin 2017

"I think the pitch was very good for both teams", he said.

Chasing a modest target of 212, unpredictable Pakistan's batting clicked when their openers laid the foundation for victory.

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.

"If you look at the game we started well but after Fakhar Zaman got out we lost the momentum and then most of our dismissals were soft which definitely is an area of concern for us", ESPNcricinfo quoted Sarfraz as saying in the post-match press conference.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had suffered a collapse of their own as superb left-arm pace bowling from Amir and Junaid Khan reduced Sri Lanka from 161-3 to 167-7 in four devastating overs. They looked like a team that wanted to win the championship, winning all the group stage match easily but in the end, when it mattered the most, they failed, simply outplayed by Pakistan. The 25-year-old Rumman, originally summoned as an injury replacement for Wahab Riaz after the fast bowler suffered a tournament-ending ankle injury against India, has represented Pakistan in two Twenty20 Internationals to date.

Hales aimed something expansive over the infield, but didn't get enough bat into his stroke, the blade turned on impact and gave a comfortable catch to Babar Azam. The duo brought their 50-run stand off 50 deliveries before Mendis was castled by Hasan Ali (3-43). He also picked up three important wickets in the innings and thus became the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.

That reputation has only been enhanced in England, with Hasan top of the wicket-takers' charts with 10 at 17.20 - with an economy of 4.52 to boot. The way he tricked Morgan by forcing him to play an outside ball and edging towards the wicketkeeper was the Oppo Moment of the match.

But within touching distance of a first global 50-over title after three victories in the group stage, they crumbled limply to 211 all out and the bowlers failed to fire as Pakistan strolled to their target with almost 13 overs to spare.

The all-rounder played circumspectly without hitting a boundary in his 64 ball innings and continued to pick out the fielders after Adil Rashid was run out by a direct hit from substitute Ahmed Shehzad. Zaman has provided Pakistan some electrifying starts.

The opening pair of Zaman and Azhar Ali stitched together a 74-run partnership.

This was only his 3rd ODI innings. Opener Azhar Ali was done in by the extra bounce of Suranga Lakmal soon after, edging a sharp catch to first slip. At the end of the first powerplay, Pakistan were positioned 65 for naught, needing just 163 more to win from 40 overs.

Aleem Dar, the only Pakistan on the ICC elite panel of umpires, officiated in leagues games of the ICC Champions Trophy. Thanks to misfields and overthrows, Ahmed and Amir wobbled to the end, where Ahmed finished off the match by hitting Lasith Malinga to the third man boundary for the winning runs, then ran to Amir for a huge embrace.

Joe Root is a world-class batsman and is the fulcrum around whom the England batting revolves.

Champions Trophy: Sarfraz powers shaky Pakistan to semis