Champions Trophy 2017: Buoyant Pakistan destroy England

Liam Plunkett edged a full toss from Rumman Raees for a boundary in the fifth delivery of the 48th over. Exactly 11 overs after their previous one. Pakistan bowlers never let their hold on the England batsmen, making them suffocate for runs throughout the innings, and ended up with meagre 211. Pakistan chased it down with 12.5 overs to spare to break into the finals of ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

Hasan Ali breaks the English batting after a steady start

Pakistan wouldn’t have expected to go into the match without their lead pacer, but injury to Amir forced them to replace him with another left arm seamer — Rumman Raees who was impressive with the ball. Even when Junaid was going for runs, it was Raees who kept things quite with his tight line and length. Hales launched one straight into the hands of covers to present the debutant his first ODI wicket.

But it was the introduction of Hasan Ali that changed the course of the match. He bowled with verve and broke the England’s middle order with his guile. Bairstow top edged a pull and was caught at deep square leg, and just when the Root-Morgan pair looked set to take the game away, Root was caught behind of Shadab. Morgan too chased a wide one which had a minuscule movement in it off Hasan Ali and was caught behind. The England batsmen, all got starts, but couldn’t get going, such was Pakistan’s disciplined bowling and Sarfraz’s shuffling of bowlers. Someone like Ben Stokes, who scored 34 runs without a boundary to his name indicates how hostile the Pakistan bowlers were. The fielding efforts too were improved from their previous outings.

A century stand and the comprehensive chase

The Pakistani batters didn’t take the game until the nick of time like their previous game and the openers ensured it with a brilliant century stand. Fakhar Rahman did two things. Defended when he couldn’t attack, and attacked the rest. Azhar Ali played a classical opener’s innings with a slow start and caught up as the game progressed. The England bowlers seldom troubled the Fakhar-Ahar pair and they were at ease.

Fakhar finally perished when he swung hard to a Adil Rashid googly and was caught short of the crease.This happened only when more than half the target was reached.  Azhar was steady at the other end. England’s nerves were seen on the field when they were left with nothing much to defend. Babar Azam was free flowing, rotating the strike and punishing the loose ones to the ropes. Expecting a quick bouncer, Azhar stepped out, only to be deceived by a slower bouncer from Jake ball and edged it on to the stumps, with the target well within reach. Hafeez’s cameo ensured no further damage was done and Pakistan sauntered into the grand finale.

England’s hope to win their first ICC tournament (50-over tournament) crash landed with a thud.  Hasan Ali was awarded the Man of the Match for his third water shedding spell.

Final Scores:

England 211 (Root 46, Bairstow 43, Hasan 3-35, Junaid 2-42) 

Pakistan 215 for 2 (Azhar 76, Fakhar 57)

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