Pakistan pummels England in ODI, cements place in final of Champions Trophy

In the end, Ben Stokes, who played an unusual knock of 34 off 64 balls, helped England cross the 200-run mark.He recalled his last meeting with Sarfraz and expressed that he feels pretty good about the wicket-keeper batsman’s success in the cricketing career.Pakistan will meet Group A toppers England in the first semifinal on Wednesday at the same venue.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 flawless start.Hasan Ali (three for 35) was exemplary as the Pakistan attack performed admirably – despite the key absence of Mohammad Amir with a last-minute back spasm – and with a top-score of just 46 from Joe Root, England fell badly short after being put in on a glorious day.They compiled an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 75, with Sarfraz hitting an unbeaten 61 and Amir undefeated on 28, to leave Sri Lanka crestfallen and reflecting ruefully on dropping Sarfraz twice in quick succession as the Pool B contest reached a thrilling conclusion. Obviously we have to play hard and we will try to replicate our past year performance to win them again in Cardiff.And next in line were bowlers Hasan Ali, who averaged 7 with the bat, and Junaid Khan, who averaged 4.Title-holders India and Bangladesh meet at Edgbaston in Thursday’s second semi-final, with the final at London’s Oval on Sunday. Left-arm opening pair Amir (2-53) and Junaid Khan (3-40) quickly took four wickets for six runs, against the run of play, to leave Pakistan in tatters at 167 for seven. If you’re playing a world class team, definitely, you play more positive cricket against England.Pakistani bowlers produced another professional performance to restrict the formidable England batting line-up to 211 after Sarfraz Ahmed opted to bowl on a used surface. Pakistan’s heavy loss to India and their narrow win over South Africa has given them a net run-rate of -1.508, which is the worst among all the teams.England made one change from the team which beat Australia in the group stage, bringing in Bairstow for out-of-form opener Jason Roy. Bairstow opened the batting for the first time, and survived a close-call for leg-before in the first over and two dropped chances afterward. “We adapted to the conditions, we knew if we restricted them we could easily chase it down”.But with the game getting the same wicket as the Pakistan versus Sri Lanka match, it could be slightly on the slower side. Hales’ dismissal brought some cheer on the face of the debutant who was denied his first wicket via DRS.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.