Pakistan have made it into the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy after they got the better of England by eight wickets in the first semi-final at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Wednesday.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed surprised many when he chose to field first, but his decision was vindicated as his bowlers did a fantastic job to bowl the hosts out for just 211.
Hasan Ali was, once again, very impressive and he was named the Player of the Match after he picked up bowling figures of 3-35 from his 10 overs. He is now the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 10 wickets to his name.
The right-arm fast bowler was well supported by fellow pacers Junaid Khan and debutant Rumman Raees (coming in place of an injured Mohammad Amir), with both picking up two wickets each. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who returned to the side, took the important wicket of Joe Root which started England’s batting collapse.
Jonny Bairstow (43 off 57 balls), Root (46 off 56 balls), and Eoin Morgan (33 off 53 balls) all got starts but none of them managed to make a huge score as Pakistan produced a fabulous bowling display. Even the in-form Ben Stokes struggled, scoring zero boundaries in his uncharacteristic knock of 34 which came from 64 deliveries.
In reply, Azhar Ali (76 off 100 balls) and Fakhar Zaman (57 off 58 balls) got Pakistan off to a fantastic start as they added 118 runs for the first wicket.
From there on, the Men in Green were in cruise control as they chased down the target in just 37.1 overs with Babar Azam (38* off 45 balls) and Mohammad Hafeez (31* off 21 balls) at the crease at the end.
Pakistan will now face the winner of the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh in the final which is scheduled to be held at The Oval on Sunday.
England 211 all out, 49.5 overs [Root 46, Bairstow 43, Hasan 3-35] lost to Pakistan 215-2, 37.1 overs [Azhar Ali 76, Zaman 57, Ball 1-37] by eight wickets.
Player of the Match – Hasan Ali.