A beautiful sunny day full of cheers and chantings as Pakistan knocks the mighty English team out. England who were rated as favourites based on their recent performance against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia have been torn to shreds as unpredictable Pakistan once again pulls out a stunner. It was Mohammad Hafeez, who hit the winning runs making Pakistan earn a comfortable spot into the finals by 8 wickets.
The Huge Miss:
It was at the time of the winning toss when Pakistani fans had their first heartbreak as Sarfaraz mentions the replacement of injured Mohammad Amir. How much would this hurt the Pakistani pace attack? Well, Rumman Raees did not hold back from making his presence shown in Cardiff.
England on the other hand had been performing top class when it came to chasing a total. Whether it being the mighty chase against Bangladesh or the brilliant comeback against Australia after being 3/35 chasing 240(DLS method) The question of batting first once again was the challenge England again had to somehow achieve. However, Morgan mentioned that he would have batted first anyway if he had won the toss. Jonny Bairstow was the replacement of the out-of-form Jason Roy.
England got off to a very decent start, though there was a shout of a very close LBW appeal on the very second ball of the innings, which resulted in an unsuccessful challenge from Pakistan. Through some close misses, Bairstow was middling the ball quite comfortably. It was the debutant, Rumman Raees who brought the early breakthrough of the dangerous Alex Hales.
England were looking solid and a score of 300 was not far from impossible as Root and Bairstow started scoring not less than 5.5 RPO. The top wicket taker of the tournament, Hasan Ali was the one who once again broke the vital partnership taking the wicket of Bairstow (caught by Hafeez at deep mid wicket).
The Turning Point:
The English men were looking slightly off color, as the run rate dropped to below 4 RPO. The spin bowling attack of Pakistan built the pressure and did not let the batsmen settle down. Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez were all looking effective as the English batsmen started struggling in the middle overs.
Shadab Khan’s wicket of the dangerous Joe Root was the turning point of the game as England never really got going after his departure. The wickets kept falling as Junaid and Hasan got rid of the big players, such as Morgan, Buttler and Ali etc. However, Ben Stokes was the only sensible batsman left from England along with the tail-enders. But, the Pakistani reverse swing, slower balls and bouncers did not let Stokes to play his game naturally as his 34 from 64 balls did not include a single boundary.
Poor Batting Display:
England were 201/8 in 47.4 overs when England lost their last hope, Ben Stokes to put a fighting total on the board. It was Hasan Ali’s slower ball that did the damage and Pakistan were now looking to end this innings as soon as possible. England’s lower order managed to reach 211 all out in 49.5 overs before Sarfaraz Ahmed ran Mark Wood out trying to run back to his end.
Although the total being way below target, there was still a big concern on Pakistan’s shaky batting lineup. Pakistan required to bat very well against an experienced bowling line up, which they did exceptionally well. With Drives, Hooks, Pulls and slogs by Azhar and Fakhar, Pakistan finally brought up their long awaited 100 run opening partnership. Wood’s pace or Adil’s turn, nothing seemed to be troubling the opening stand as they kept rushing through the chase.
Pakistan lost their first wicket of Fakhar Zaman at 118 runs in 21.1 overs, was this a chance of a turn around? Certainly not, says Azhar Ali and Babar Azam. England were going nowhere with their bowling having tried everything possible. Babar Azam got going late this champions trophy, but it was about time we saw his beautiful shot through midwicket. Azhar Ali’s sensible knock unfortunately got to an end 25 runs short of his 4th ODI hundred.
Pakistan were 173/2 in 32.2 overs and the job was already about 80% done. Mohammad Hafeez silenced the crowd with his magnificent knock, being poor with the bat this year’s champions trophy in previous matches.
Pakistan were one run away from 13 overs to create history. Never had they ever qualified for the finals of any Champions Trophy. A loud cheer was heard at Sophia Gardens stadium when Mohammad Hafeez hit the winning runs by pulling a short ball away for a boundary against Ben stokes, making the 3rd wicket partnership 42 runs. Hugs and celebrations all around the Pakistani dressing room, and some very happy faces were seen in the stadium. Is this their time to finally lift the cup? They have a bright chance to do so.
Final against India/Bangladesh:
While England will end their tour here, Pakistan will be booking their tickets to London and wait for their opponent in the finals. It is between India and Bangladesh that Pakistan will have to face in the Oval, Sunday the 18th of June.
MOM: Hasan Ali (3 for 35 with economy of 3.5)
Batsman of the day: Azhar Ali 75 (100 balls)
Bowler of the day: Hasan Ali (3 for 35 with economy of 3.5)
Perfomances of the day:
Joe Root 46 (56 balls)
Azhar Ali 75 (100 balls)
Fakhar Zaman 57 (58 balls)
Junaid Khan (2 for 42 with economy of 4.7)
Rumman Raees (2 for 44 economy of 4.8)
The Pakistani bowlers bowled well and adjusted to the conditions.
The wicket was obviously slow and low, hard to get away to start with which was the reason behind our slow rates whenever a new partnership started.
None of our batsmen really seemed to get going. We did not seem to have any home advantage.
we knew we would play on a used wicket in this tournament. Having seen the match against Sri Lanka, we did not expect it to be that bad. Going from Edgbaston, it was more jump, pace and bounce.
We left ourselves short today adapting to the conditions
Big frustration as we played well in this tournament and we weren’t anywhere close to it today. Big credit to Pakistan.
Being on top of the table helps us a lot for the upcoming world cup and that’s the continued form we will have. Certainly we believe that we’re moving into the right direction.
Pitch was very good and it was equal for both sides. We played better cricket which is the reason behind our victory
We were down after the defeat against India, but credit goes to the team management and the players who were extremely motivated. We’re bowling well, fielding well and the batting is clicking as well now.
We did not expect to restrict them to 211 runs. We thought if we restricted them to 260-270, we would have a good chance to chase the total down. Credit goes to the bowlers who did a great job especially in the middle overs.
After the India game, we motivated the guys and told them to forget it and move on. We have two matches remaining, and if we win them, we’ll have a good chance to win this tournament. Now we’re in the final
I’m very happy about the young players, especially Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali who are improving day by day. Fakhar is batting like a champion batsman.
All three recent game we played were my best games as a captain. Nobody expected us to be semi finals. I’m very happy, all credit goes to the players.
Mohammad Amir has a little problem with his back and will hopefully be back for the finals. He’s our main bowler and it affects the game a lot if he’s not there.
The credit goes to the selection committee who selected these players that we wanted. All credit goes to the players. Rumman Raees got into the squad unexpectedly and played very well. It’s a plus point for the future of Pakistan cricket.
I am fully confident about my batsmen, it’s a good sign for us that batsmen like Babar, Hafeez are getting in form. We fielded well, some tough chances were missed though.
Whoever plays well between India and Bangladesh will qualify.
2005 under-19 world cup will be in mind as I again will be captaining the side like I did at that time and won it for Pakistan