Pak­istan dom­i­nate, blow English away

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

CARDIFF: Pak­istan de­liv­ered an in­spired all-round per­for­mance to rout a ragged Eng­land team by eight wick­ets in a one-sided Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy semi-fi­nal yes­ter­day.

Pak­istan bowled and fielded tightly to re­strict the hosts to a pal­try to­tal of 211 all out and the low­est-ranked team in the tour­na­ment knocked off the runs in style with a mas­sive 12.5 overs to spare.

It was a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment for Eng­land, who won all three of their group matches in their bid to claim a first global 50-over ti­tle and had beaten Pak­istan in 12 of their last 14 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als.

They col­lapsed, how­ever, on a slug­gish pitch from 128/2 in sunny con­di­tions which nor­mally favour bats­men, re­sulted in the English bowlers fail­ing to re­pair the dam­age, as Fakhar Za­man and Azhar Ali shared a stand of 118 to lead Pak­istan to their tar­get.

Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed won the toss and Eng­land open­ers Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow, re­plac­ing the out-of-form Ja­son Roy, made a solid enough start.

Hit­ting bound­aries proved dif­fi­cult, how­ever, and a clearly frus­trated Hales, on 13, spooned Rum­man Raees to cover with a loose drive.

Bairstow, dropped twice, ac­cu­mu­lated 43 runs through good shot place­ment and quick run­ning be­tween the wick­ets be­fore he pulled seamer Hasan Ali to Mo­ham­mad Hafeez at deep square leg.

Joe Root and Eoin Mor­gan con­tin­ued to score at about five runs an over but Root, on 46, nicked leg-spin­ner Shadab Khan to wick­et­keeper Sar­fraz and Mor­gan (33) aimed an ex­pan­sive drive at the lively Hasan and gave Sar­fraz an­other catch to leave Eng­land in trou­ble at 141 for four.

Jos But­tler (4), Moeen Ali (11) and Adil Rashid (7) fell quickly and Ben Stokes, one of the most de­struc­tive bats­men in the world, failed to hit a bound­ary in a scratchy 34 as the Pak­istan bowlers dom­i­nated.

Fakhar hit Mark Wood for the first six of the match in the open­ing over of Pak­istan’s in­nings and he and Azhar played some de­light­ful strokes in a flu­ent part­ner­ship.

Fakhar reached his 50 off 49 balls be­fore be­ing stumped by But­tler off Rashid for 57 but Azhar and Babar Azam calmly con­tin­ued to milk runs all around the ground as Eng­land’s bowlers ran out of ideas.

Azhar, on 76, dragged a de­liv­ery from Jake Ball on to his stumps be­fore Babar (38 not out) and Hafeez (31 not out) guided Pak­istan home.

In­dia play Bangladesh in the sec­ond semi-fi­nal in Birm­ing­ham to­day. — Reuters

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