Champions Trophy: Pakistan defeats England by 8 wickets

Solenn Plantier
Juin 15, 2017

It seemed Pakistani batsmen were batting on a different pitch during the chase as they cruised to complete the target in 37.1 overs, after openers Azhar Ali (76 off 100) and Fakhar Zaman (57 off 58) provided a ideal start.

While Pakistan look ahead to Sunday and a possible reunion with India - Virat Kohli's side take on Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday - England must reflect on how the bubble of their two-year resurgence burst.

Pakistan then cruised to their victory target, finishing on 215 for two with a massive 77 balls to spare.

But just three days later Pakistan, the lowest-ranked side in a tournament featuring the world s top eight one-day global teams bounced back to defeat number one South Africa.

Pakistan's more seasoned players like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez are yet to fire in the tournament and have so far been overshadowed by the young performers. Zaman played aggressor in the first ten overs, with three fours and a six, while Ali managed just one four. He's the 3rd to score that many after Bell (5416) and Collingwood (5092). England may point to conditions that did not suit them, but the margin of the defeat shows that is no excuse.

Pakistan won the toss and made a decision to field first with Rumman Raees making his debut in the place of injured Mohammad Amir.

Midway through the England innings, the game was delicately poised. Joe Root top scored with 46.

From there, though, Pakistan were imperious.

A knock of 43 by opener Jonny Bairstow, recalled in place of the axed Jason Roy, was added to by Root and Morgan, who struck 33, although Ben Stokes's 34 was the only other meaningful contribution.

After this, the wickets started falling in regular intervals.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali grabbed three for 35 to win the man-of-the-match award, while fellow pacers Junaid Khan and debutant Rumman Raees, in place of the injured Mohammad Amir, took two each. England and India were among the favourites before the tournament, but Bangladesh and Pakistan have defied expectation to reach this stage.

Facing a barrage of short deliveries, left-hander Fakhar was hit on the head by Wood, but also caused chaos with pulls to the boundary and a top edge over wicketkeeper Jos Buttler's head for six. England were well beaten long before Hafeez pulled Stokes for the winning boundary.

"Full credit to them, they outplayed us on this wicket".

"The bowlers did extremely well and got us in a very good position".

Instead, it was a case of coming unstuck in conditions which made setting a defendable total no easy task - despite England's handy start after being put in. But we lost our way in the middle period.

Sarfraz rescued Pakistan with an unbeaten 61 after they collapsed against Sri Lanka but, two days on, there was no repeat of that batting slump.

England's troubles led to Morgan criticising the conditions at Sophia Gardens, but Sarfraz felt the pitch was "very good" and credited his bowlers with securing the surprise victory.

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