England vs. Pakistan 1st Semi Final Champions Trophy
England vs. Pakistan a match which England were favourites to win, because they had been undefeated in the tournament so far and they had the team to take on a shaky Pakistan team. Although you can never underestimate Pakistan, as they can spring a surprise anytime. England vs. Pakistan were playing on the same re-used pitch in which Pakistan had secured their semi-final berth.
England were batting first in this match and it was pivotal they put on a good score to ensure that Pakistan had an uphill challenge, but Pakistan’s bowlers had a different story in mind altogether and they scripted a remarkable story indeed their bowling attack was on fire. The reverse swing they extracted from the pitch had caught England off guard and they were in trouble in this match.
England had a decent start but once the tumbling of wickets began happening that was it. The Pakistan bowlers were firmly in control of this match. The England batsman were getting the starts but not converting them into the long innings that was needed. Which gave their innings a two-paced affect as well, Pakistan were outplaying them already and England must have been fully aware of that when they were batting, hoping when it was their turn to ball they would extract the same reverse swing.
England were bowled out for 211 runs a score which was well below par, and the England bowlers would have to script a master class to win this game. The Pakistan batsman were out to bat and the opposite of the England innings happened. Pakistan were batting comfortably their opening pair were scoring runs freely and the England bowlers were struggling big time. There was no if’s or but’s about it they were not prepared at all and it surprised them that this had happened.
Pakistan kept on building on their partnership, and England hopes of reaching the final were slipping away, as Pakistan were batting with intent but sensibly at the same time. They kept a calm head this time round which helped them as they were cruising along in this match and England were giving it their all to get the wickets needed but alas it was not their day as Pakistan ended up winning the match by 8 wickets with 77 balls to spare. So they won this match comfortably and were jubilant to reach the final.
Pakistan performed exceedingly well in this match and outplayed England in all areas and they should be extremely proud as they fully lived up to the potential they are capable off. England on the other hand will have to go and analyse where they went wrong, as they have to be prepared for all conditions and in this match, that was not the case.
Post-match commentary (credit espncricinfo.com)
5.20pm: Captain’s presentations now, starting with Eoin Morgan: “One thing we didn’t do was adapt to conditions, coming from Edgbaston to a used wicket, Pakistan did that well and played better. We did prepare, Pakistan bowled well but we didn’t adjust and 200 isn’t competitive, 250-270 would be a good score. [Used pitch in semi-final] It’s a test… There wasn’t [too much wrong]. We bowled okay but 200 was well under par. We continue to learn, everything we did was calculated, but Pakistan had played on the wicket previously and that helped. You have to adapt in knockout cricket, so it’s an important lesson.”
Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed: “We bowled very well and after that the batting was good too. Mohammad Amir wasn’t playing but Raees came in and did well. We elected to bowl and chase again [which worked]. After India, every game was a knockout game, I said to the players to just play your game. [India rematch in the final?] Both teams are playing well, so we will play whoever gets
through. [Hasan performance?] He’s very impressive, hopefully he will do that in the final. Whenever he comes on he’s getting wickets.”
5.10pm: Hugs on the field and among the players on the balcony, jubilation from the green-clad masses in the stands. What a performance this has been from Pakistan! They have knocked off the runs, knocked over the hosts, knocked out the favourites and will meet the winner of tomorrow’s match between India and Bangladesh. The players are taking a tour of the pitch, led by Sarfraz, whose inspirational innings at this ground a couple of days ago dragged Pakistan into an unexpected semi-final. Should India live up to their billing and win through to the final, it would be a rematch of their (rather one-sided) group stage encounter… Chance for rewenge? There’s absolutely no discounting Bangladesh, of course, the way this tournament is going. It could be No. 6 in the world versus No. 8 (when the Champions Trophy began) in the final!
Hasan Ali was the star of the show with the ball and is named Man of the Match: “It’s a big match, so we focused on our bowling. [Improvements after India game?] My coach Azhar Mahmood helped me a lot, he gave me the plan and I implemented it. [Prize wicket?] Morgan. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday and I dedicate this to him.”