The thrilling quarter final between Pakistan and Sri Lanka finally comes to an end as Pakistan seal the victory by 3 wickets, winning the game with their hearts in their mouth.
Sri Lankan Innings:
The Sri Lankans started off their journey well with the help of Dickwella’s excellent 73(86 balls). Being 161/4 at 31.2 overs in the innings, it was Junaid Khan along with Mohammad Amir who suddenly changed the dynamic of the game and awakened the cheer in the crowd. The dismissal of the big gun, Angelo Mathews never let Sri Lanka to have a big partnership once again. Amir and Junaid were all over the Sri Lankan middle order, as they took five quick wickets. Don’t forget the contribution of young Hassan Ali who again got three important wickets including the wickets of the dangerous Kusal Mendis and Gunaratne.
Pakistan rattled through the Sri Lankan batting order and bowled them out on a well below par total of 236 runs(49.2 overs).
However, Pakistan started of with a flyer. It was Fakhar Zaman who looked to continue where he left off in the match against South Africa with some beautiful drives. Pakistan were cruising along easily as the win predictor predicted Pakistan to have a 99% chance to receive a key for the semi final stage. It was a matter of time until we yet again had to see inconsistency and unpredictability of the Pakistan cricket team
Pakistan’s Batting Collapse:
After having a huge opening partnership of 74 in 11.2 overs, Pakistan found themselves being 162/7. With some bad luck with Babar and Fahim and some poor shots by Azhar, Fakhar, Hafeez, Malik and Imad, Pakistan were looking to be booking their tickets to Pakistan airport very soon. It was Sarfaraz and Amir who held their last breath and gave the Pakistani fans some hope.
Unpredictability of the Pakistani team:
Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir showed great character breaking the highest 8th wicket partnership (75 runs) in the history of all ICC champions trophy. With some criticism and close running calls, Sarfaraz made sure he could earn some respect from the fans as well as the professionals. Pakistan’s unpredictability striking once again.
Pradeep was the pick of the bowlers who took three wickets with the economy of six dismissing the following batsmen; Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim. The experienced Lasith Malinga could have easily been the pick of the bowlers if Perera had taken the sitter at mid on or the rather hard one at mid wicket region of the Pakistani skipper, Sarfaraz Ahmed.
While the Sri Lankan’s will be booking their home tickets, Pakistan’s next game will be against the hosts, England, which will be a rather tough competition. And of course, India will be taking on Bangladesh in the second semi final. Do not miss it!
MOM: Sarfaraz Ahmed 61(79 balls)
Most wickets: Junaid Khan (3 for 40, economy rate: 4)
Most Runs: Niroshan Dickwella 73(86 balls)
Impressive Performances of the day:
Fakhar Zaman 50 (36 balls)
Mohammad Amir (2 for 53, economy of 5.3, 28 from 43 with the bat)
Hasan Ali (3 for 43, economy of 4.30)
Fahim Ashraf (2 for 37, economy of 5.8, 15 from 15 with the bat)
Nuwan Pradeep (3 for 60, economy of 6)
Angelo Mathews 39(54)
Players to look out for:
Pakistan vs England: Fakhar, Hasan, Amir/Junaid, Sarfaraz, Morgan, Root, Wood, Stokes, Rashid.
India vs Bangladesh: Dhawan, Kohli, Yuvraj, Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah, Dhoni, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Tamim, Taskin, Mosaddek