Unpredictable Pakistan fly to final

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Unpredictable Pakistan fly to final

Pakistan have created another upset in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with a 8-wicket victory over England in the first semi-final of the tournament at Swalec Stadium, Cardiff. The men in green are through to the final.

Pakistan elected to bowl first after winning the toss. Mohammad Amir was ruled out of the game with back spasm. England openers Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow added 34 runs in 5.5 overs. Rumman Raees got his maiden wicket on debut.

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Bairstow put on 46-run stand with Joe Root. Bairstow scored 43 runs off 57 balls with 4 fours on his return to ODI side. Root shared a 48-run partnership with Eoin Morgan. Root was dismissed for 56-ball 46 hitting only 2 fours.

The English skipper made a slow start to his innings. He was struggling for runs at the beginning. He scored 33 runs in 53 balls. Pakistani bowlers brought down collapse in England batting line-up with pace. Fron 128/2, England were dropped down to 181/7 in 43.3 overs.

Meanwhile, Ben Stokes was also finding hard to get runs on difficult Cardiff wicket. He was failing to middle the ball and was also losing his partners. He had an unusual day with the bat. He scored 34 runs from 64 balls without any boundary. It was his first innings without any boundary in ODIs scoring over 30 runs.

England didn’t get much from the lower-order as they were bowled out for 211 runs with a ball to spare. Hasan Ali picked up a three-wicket haul again, while Junaid Khan and Rumman took two wickets each.

Openers Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali gave Pakistan a flying start to their innings. They put on 118 runs in 21.1 overs. This was the first hundred partnership for the opening wicket for Pakistan in last two years.

Fakhar slammed 58-ball 57 smashing 7 fours and a six, scoring his second half-century in the tournament. Azhar also completed his fifty in 68 balls. The partnership was broken by Adil Rashid with a stumping.

Azhar and Babar Azam shared 55-run partnership. Jake Ball dismissed Azhar and that was the last success for England. Pakistan cruised to victory in 37.1 overs when Mohammad Hafeez pulled Stokes for a four. Azhar top-scored with 100-ball 76 with 5 fours and a six.

Pakistan won by eight wickets with 77 balls remaining. They are through to the final which will be on June 18 at The Oval, London.

Brief scores:

England 211 allout in 49.5 overs (Root 46, Bairstow 43; Hasan 3/35, Junaid 2/42)

Pakistan 215/2 in 37.1 overs (Azhar 76, Fakhar 57; Ball 37, Rashid 1/54)

Result: Pakistan win by 8 wickets

Man of the Match: Hasan Ali (3/35)

-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com