Sport

Sarfraz steers Pakistan into Trophy semis

Sarfraz steers Pakistan into Trophy semis”

The same bowler had also seen opener Azhar Ali spilled by Asela Gunaratne in his first over. It brought Dinesh Chandimal to the crease but his stay was reduced to just two balls as the batsman dragged one from Fahim Ashraf onto his stumps, going for a drive.

England were boosted by the absence of Pakistan star Mohammad Amir.

Sarfraz, whose innings was laced with five boundaries, was dropped twice by Thisara Perera and substitute Seekkuge Prasanna on 38 and 40 respectively, both times off Lasith Malinga's bowling.

It will be Pakistan's second key match at Sophia Gardens in a matter of days after a tense three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka there on Monday saw them into the last four of a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day worldwide (ODI) sides.

The one match in which Pakistan emerged victorious was held in Cardiff, where Sarfraz Ahmed helped his side chase a 300-plus target.

There were to be no sixes for anyone, in fact, on this small playing area during an England innings in which the last eight wickets were lost for 83 runs. Their 75-run partnership was an eighth-wicket record for the Champions Trophy.

At the start, Junaid sent back Danushka Gunathilaka (13) who gave Malik at mid-off an easy catch.

England's £1.7million man therefore had little option but to delay his charge deep into the last 10 overs - and his patience was not to be rewarded significantly before he mistimed an attempted big hit into the off-side ring off Hasan to go for a highly untypical 34 from 64 balls, having hit no boundaries.

Pakistan made the Sri Lankans bat first, and dismissed them for 236 in 49.2 overs.

Amir got his first wicket in the tournament as he removed Mathews (39) with a angling delivery that got a thin inside edge off the bat and onto the stumps.

Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir were in excellent form in the previous match against Sri Lanka and will aim to recreate some of that magic against the hosts.

In the next over, Sarfraz took a brilliant catch diving to his right to dismiss the unsafe Dickwella off Amir's bowling. In the end, their bats were needed, too.



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