Pakistan defeated England by eight wickets to knock the hosts out of the Champions Trophy in an authoritative fashion at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. The win was made possible by a combined bowling performance led by Hassan Ali and attractive knocks from openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman.
After choosing to bowl first, Pakistan bowled out England for a mere 211 in 49.5 overs. Hassan Ali (3/35) was the top performer with the ball. Junaid Khan (2/42) and Rumman Raees (2/44) along with leg spinner Shadab Khan were also in top form and contributed in pushing England to the corner.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was proud of his boys and praised the performance dished out by his bowling unit.
“Credit goes to the bowlers and then the batsmen finished really well. Rumman bowled very well today. We decided to adapt to conditions, we knew if we could restrict them to 250-60, we could chase it,” he said during the post-match conference.
The chase was smoothly carried out by opener Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman who added 118 for the first wicket, the highest in the Champions Trophy. Following the departure of the duo, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam stayed till the end and finished off the job.
Speaking of the preparation before the game, Sarfaraz stated that a simple approach helped them achieve success after a poor start to the tournament.
“After the India game, the credit goes to the team management how they boosted us. Every game was a knockout game. Today as well they told us to not think about the match and just play the natural game. That helped us. Both teams are playing really well, all the best to them (India and Bangladesh). He is very energetic and he is bowling well. If he takes a wicket for us in the final that will help us for sure.”