Pakistan have won the toss and have opted to bowl first in their semi-final Champions Trophy clash against England in Cardiff.
It’s a match that the English are heavily favoured to win after emerging from the group stages as the only side in the tournament to have gone undefeated. But Pakistan, the world’s No 8 side, have expressed their unpredictability after making it through Group B, thanks to victories over the Proteas and Sri Lanka.
You can’t count Pakistan out of this, and it’s reflected in the bookies’ odds, with India now the favourites to win the tournament in the light of them facing Bangladesh in their semi-final clash tomorrow.
While Pakistan were aided by rain to beat South Africa, before coming very close to losing to Sri Lanka, England won all three of their games against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia comfortably.
The only form concern going into this was Jason Roy, and he’s been replaced at the top of the order by Jonny Bairstow. The bad news for Pakistan is that their frontline seamer, Mohammad Amir, has pulled up with a back spasm and is unable to feature, which will be a huge blow to an already massive task. Rumen Raes comes in to make his debut.
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England: Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Jake Ball, Liam Plunkett
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Rumman Raes, Shadab Khan, Junaid Khan, Hassan Ali
Photo: Getty Images/Cricinfo