Pakistan books a place in Champions Trophy semis

Pakistan books a place in Champions Trophy semis

Sri Lanka crashed out of the Champions Trophy after being defeated by Pakistan in their Group B clash at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Wednesday. Pakistan scored 237-7 in 44.5 overs with captain Sarfraz Ahmed leading the revival with 61 not out in 79 balls.

Other than the opener Fakhar Zaman, none of Pakistan's middle-order batsman could perform to capitalize on the strong opening stand provided by Zaman.

Pradeep was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Thisara, Malinga and Lakmal claimed one wicket each.

Chris Broad of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees imposed the fine after Sarfraz Ahmed's side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.

"England is a very good team, a very, very good team".

Pakistan hold the upper hand in Champions Trophy encounters with Sri Lanka (W2, L1); they secured a 4 wicket win last time out in 2006. Hasan Ali's brilliance with the ball, finding annul swing where most other bowlers in the tournament have been unable to, galvanized Pakistan and Junaid Khan's left-arm swing proved a hard proposition with the new ball too. Only same late tail-order hitting, with the last three wickets adding 69 runs, got Sri Lanka past 200 in an innings where Pakistan pacemen Junaid (three for 40) and Hasan Ali (three for 43) did the bulk of the damage.

Dickwella's dismissal dented Sri Lanka badly and they struggled to put up a good total on the board. "A see-saw kind of a game", captain Angelo Mathews said.

Sarfraz then took a sensational catch low to his right to dismiss Dickwella, readjusting brilliantly as Amir's delivery took the inside-edge of the left-hander's bat. The Sri Lankans were in disarray thereafter as Sarfraz was dropped again in Malinga's next over by the diving substitute fielder Seekkuge Prasanna at deep square leg. Rain played its part as Pakistan won the match by 19 runs following D/L method. At one stage, they were at 161-3 but lost all the 7 wickets for just 75 runs.

Pakistan's bowling is clearly their strength and it has played an instrumental role in both of their victories in the tournament so far.

India meet Bangladesh in the other semi-final, at Edgbaston on Thursday, with the final at the Oval on Sunday.

Pakistan's over-rate wasn't helped by their decision to go in with a pace-heavy attack, as young leggie Shadab Khan was dropped and seamer Fahim Ashraf was selected in his stead. "We all know they're a very unsafe team".

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