The hosts and pre-tournament favorites England will take on Pakistan in the first semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on Wednesday (June 14). The match will be held in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, with the kick-off time being 3.30pm BdST. [নিউজটি বাংলায় পড়ুনঃ প্রথম সেমিতে ইংল্যান্ডের মুখোমুখি পাকিস্তান]
It would be fair to think the home side hold the upper hand while Pakistan would once again look to stutter over the winning line. Both of Pakistan’s wins – against South Africa and Sri Lanka – have not been comprehensive in any way shape or form. On the other hand, England won all three of their group games against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia.
This is the two sides’ first meeting in a major ODI competition since 2003 and their first in a knockout since the 1992 World Cup final, when Wasim Akram’s two in two led the cornered tigers to victory. But times have changed since then. England are the world’s form team, while Pakistan aren’t yet certain to qualify for the next World Cup. The last series between these sides saw England thrash Pakistan 4-1, and run up a world record total of 444-4 in the process.
Most of the Pakistan batsmen have struggled during the group matches. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and opener Fakhar Zaman are the only Pakistan batsmen who have shown some kind of form in this tournament.
England, on the other hand, were the dominant team in Group A. They dominated teams like Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand in home conditions for an all-win record in the group stage and will look to maintain their winning streak.
There could be a major change coming in the England squad, with Jason Roy making his way for Jonny Bairstow after scoring just 51 runs in eight innings.
Pakistan are also considering changes with coach Mickey Arthur planning to meet captain Sarfraz to discuss whether he should bat higher after his unbeaten 61 saw them home against Sri Lanka.
After a wet first week in the tournament, the weather has cleared and Wednesday looks set to be the warmest day of the year so far in Cardiff. However the game will be played on the same strip that was used for Monday’s scramble, so it will be a little worn. The spinners could well come into play.
Bangladesh Television (BTV), Gazi Television (GTV), Maasranga and the Star Sports will telecast the match live, while the official online streaming will be available on hostar.
– Jannatul Naym Pieal, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com