Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Pakistan stun mighty England to reach Champions Trophy final


Openers Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) made it a comfortable chase from the start as Pakistan reached 215/2 in 37.1 overs in reply to England's unimpressive 211 all out - from 128/2 - with one ball left.

Pakistan face the victor of the second semi-final today between India and Bangladesh in Birmingham while England will be left to rue another missed chance to lift their first ever 50-overs global trophy.

But Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, dropped twice, struck a superb 61 not out and received excellent support from Mohammad Amir (28 not out) in an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 75 that sealed a tense three-wicket victory.

"It is a cause of great pride and happiness for myself and for the entire Pakistan nation", said Sarfraz after the semi-final triumph.

"I was not expecting us to bowl them out for 210, but we thought if we won the toss, elected to bowl first, [we could] restrict them to 260, 270".

"Certainly, that hasn't gone to our heads at all".

England captain cut a frustrated figure after his team delivered a muddled and lacklustre performance.

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"And now today Fakhar Zaman, he's playing in his third match, and now he's batting just like a champion batsman".

"(But) fair credit to Pakistan.

For Pakistan, strike early with the ball and they must take every opportunity given to them. Speaking about the team's chances in the semi-finals against England on Wednesday, Sarfraz said, "We played the last ODI here". Find us on Facebook too!

"The wicket was obviously slow and low and hard to get away to start with", Morgan said.

England's struggle was highlighted by Ben Stokes' boundary-less 64-ball stay, but Morgan believed the batsmen had tried everything to put the pressure back on the bowlers. "They bowled really well".

"But obviously, given the conditions, it didn't allow us to do that.it was quite tough".

While Pakistan looks at a possible reunion with India on Sunday, the Virat Kohli-led side will take on Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday. They motivated very well.

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"I don't think there was any home advantage", he added.

Pakistan, on the contrary, came out for the chase with a plan.

Now back in the side after a ban and jail term in a British prison for spot-fixing, Amir is becoming an ever more important member of the Pakistan team and Arthur said: "He showed what we know he can do with the bat yesterday (Monday)".

He declined to call on tournament organisers to change their pitch policy, however.

So happy was the 30-year-old, he labelled the victory as the best of his 74-match one-day global career.

"If they want it to be completely neutral ground and bring all the teams into (it). Comprehensive win over England".

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