Champions Trophy : Sarfaraz Credits Bowlers, Concerned With Middle Order
Last night was no less than a quarterfinal between Srilanka and Pakistan. Sri Lanka started impressively but a brilliant spell midway from Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan restricted them to 236. Pakistan made the chase look harder than it was but captain Sarfaraz and Amir were there at the end to see their side go to semifinals.
“I think it’s a great win today, and credit goes to the bowlers,” said Sarfraz. “They bowled really well at a crucial time.”
Pakistan’s bowling is clearly their strength since ages and it has played main role in both of their victories in the tournament so far. Against South Africa in their last game, the bowlers also delivered with Hasan Ali bowling a terrific spell which helped his side take five wickets for 58 runs to restrict the Proteas to a manageable score.
But Pakistan suffered a batting collapse. They lost six for 63 and crumbled to 162-7. That was a typical pakistan way to make situations complex. Only a 75-run partnership between Sarfraz and Amir rescued Pakistan, but they probably wouldn’t have won if Sri Lanka had been alert in the field.
Sarfraz pronounced his unbeaten 61 as a “very important innings” for him as captain and also praised Zaman, who scored 50 off just 36 balls in only his second ODI. Yet the middle order is, admitted Sarfraz, “a little bit of a concern” with some players struggling for fluency (Mohammad Hafeez) and others with little form behind them (Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim). With England’s strong bowling attack to come, that must be a worry for Pakistan’s management.
“England is a very good team, a very, very good team,” Sarfraz said. “They’ve been playing really good cricket for the last two years. If you’re playing a world class team, you play more positive cricket. So definitely, we will play more positively against England.”
Sarfraz Ahmed becomes the first Pakistani captain to win a Man of the Match award in ICC Champions Trophy. Pakistan would meet the hosts on Wednesday for the semifinals.
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