Pakistan have given themselves an excellent chance of reaching the Champions Trophy final, after bowling out England for 211 in Cardiff.
After storming into the semi-finals with three victories on the trot, hosts England were expected to ease into the final against a Pakistan side that scraped into the next stage. But, like the Proteas found out, you can never rule out the No 8 side in the world.
Meeting for the first time in a major tournament since the 2003 World Cup – a match Pakistan won – England were put into bat, and it was just a case of not pushing on, with four of their top five scoring above 30. Despite missing Mohammad Amir, Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack constantly chipped away.
While the match is still far from over, Mickey Arthur’s side will take heart from the fact that they managed to restrict the Proteas to 219-8 and Sri Lanka 236 all out, and chased both totals down one way or another.
Bowling first has been the way to do things in this tournament, and Pakistan won the all-important toss. Jonny Barstow, in for the dropped Jason Roy, built up a confident 34-run stand with Alex Hales in the first six overs.
Hales fell victim to debutant Rumman Raees, making his debut in the absence of Amir. It was a solid first outing for Raees, who finished with figures of 2-44.
Seemingly settled partnerships continued to be broken. Barstow justified his place in the side with 43 before Hassan Ali (3-35) saw him off, and then the 58-run stand between Joe Root and Eoin Morgan was abruptly ended when Root (46) nicked one behind for 18-year-old Shadab Khan (1-40) to get on the board.
England collapsed from there, with the last eight wickets falling for 83 runs. The in-form Morgan departed for 33, before Junaid Khan (3-42) stepped up in a devastating spell to see off the dangerous Jos Buttler (4), before Moeen Ali fell victim to the short ball to depart for 11.
The hosts were left to feed off scraps as Ben Stokes did his utmost to stay at the crease. He lasted 64 boundary-less balls before Hassan got his 10th wicket of the tournament to see him off for 34.
Just 24 runs were scored off the last five overs, as the seamers continued to do their job at the death. Khan and Ali both took three-wicket hauls, with five of the last six batsmen posting single-digit scores, as Pakistan now require 212 for victory.
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