Pakistan crushes England’s Champions Trophy hopes

Nasser Hussain said it was “disrespectful” to Pakistan to blame England s shock eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat on a used Cardiff pitch. “They bowled really well, especially in the middle part”.Openers Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) then helped knock off the inadequate total with nearly 13 overs and eight wickets to spare as England bowed out of their own tournament at the semi-final stage.But just three days later Pakistan, the lowest-ranked side in a tournament featuring the world’s top eight one-day worldwide teams bounced back to defeat number one South Africa.With scores of 31, 50 and 57 in his three matches, and all three resulting in wins Zaman is being labelled as Pakistan’s lucky charm.”We played really positive smart cricket, so there are some big positives to take”. “Certainly, that hasn’t gone to our heads at all”.”We left ourselves short today adapting to conditions”.”Going into today’s game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan’s game closer to their home”. “We are giving a rest to the guys who are definitely in the Test team, but a lot of the guys will play in that third match and then back it up the next day in the pink-ball game and he is one of those”.”Every partnership we had started behind the rate, which put us under the pump a little bit, and none of our batsmen seemed to get away”.England faltered from 128-2 to lose their last eight wickets for just 83 runs in under 23 overs on a low, slow surface. “So it was a big challenge and one that was too far for us”, he said.”But obviously, given the conditions, it didn’t allow us to do was quite tough”.Morgan, who made 87 in a 40-run win against Australia last time out, fell for 19 when he charged down the pitch to Hasan and edged behind. That gave the players the confidence they required and that was evident in the spectacular victory over New Zealand to seal its place in the semifinals. “I think this (his emergence) is something marvelous for Pakistan cricket”.The fact is that the used wicket in Cardiff played into Pakistan’s hands.Pakistan turned the run chase into a formality.No-one epitomised England’s torrid time with the bat quite like dynamic allrounder Ben Stokes, who was uncharacteristically sedate in compiling 34 from 64 balls (with no boundaries) as he struggled to come to terms with the two-paced pitch. “I think his best attribute, certainly in white-ball cricket over the a year ago and a half, has been his relentless attitude to score runs regardless of the situation. I would keep it the same way”.Trevor Bayliss is confident England will reach their peak for the 2019 World Cup despite their crushing Champions Trophy disappointment.”We’ve stayed true to what we believe in and what’s worked for us the last couple of years, and I think that’s the continued formula for the future”.Morgan’s opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed hailed Pakistan’s near flawless performance.”I’m still very disappointed we didn’t win against Pakistan, I thought we’d been playing well enough to win, but we came up against a good side that played well”. What a stunning comeback after first loss, silencing/shocking critics. “That’s why we won”.His knock and the bowlers’ performance have meant that Pakistan now travels to London for the final on June 18 where it will take on the victor of the India v Bangladesh semi-final.”After the first loss we were very down, but credit goes to the team management”, Sarfraz told a news conference. “We are just going to play it like any other game”.