Pakistan beat Sri Lanka, enter Champions Trophy semi-final


Observer Report


Sarfraz Ahmed produced a superb captain’s innings following a top-order collapse to see Pakistan into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Cardiff on Mon-day.
Pakistan achieved 237 runs off 44.5 overs with seven wickets lost, as Sarfraz’ heroics earn him the man of the match.
Sri Lanka’s total of 236 seemed like a reasonable chase at first, and with seven Pakistani batsmen back in the pavilion by the 35-over mark, the fate of the match seemed decided.
But an unbroken stand of 75 between Sarfraz, dropped twice on his way to 61 not out, and Mohammad Amir (28 not out) saw Pakistan complete a thrilling win.
Despite their best efforts, Perera and Malinga could not succeed in getting the necessary wickets to re-strict Pakistan.
They will return to Sophia Gardens for a last-four clash with tournament hosts England in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Sri Lankan fans at the venue, however, were beginning to sense an impending win for their side.
Quite a large number of people have showed up to watch the game. Zainab Abbas, one of the television presenters for this year’s Champions Trophy tweeted, saying; “Car-diff has come alive with the dholwala’s in the stands!”
Sri Lankan batting innings
Sri Lanka got off to a solid start but failed to retain that position against a quick Pakistani bowling attack, led primarily by Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali.
Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Mathews emerged to be the highest run-getters for Sri Lanka, having scored 73 and 39 respectively.
Junaid Khan (3), Mohammad Amir (2) and Hasan Ali (3) bagged a bulk of Sri Lankan wickets, with Fahim Ashraf picking up an impressive two wickets in his high-stakes international debut match.
The game turned in Pakistan’s favour between the 30th to 35th over, as pacers Amir and Junaid bagged three quick wickets in a crucial three-over span. Fahim Ashraf wrapped up the innings by picking Nuwan Pradeep’s wicket, with four balls still remaining of the last over. India has already qualified for the semi-final from group B, while England and Bangladesh are moving forward to the next stage from group A.

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