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Sarfraz Ahmed pleased with progress made by youngsters

Sarfraz Ahmed will lead Pakistan to their first Champions Trophy final
Sarfraz Ahmed will lead Pakistan to their first Champions Trophy final

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said he was pleased with the progress made by the team after they reached their first final in the history of Champions Trophy.

At one stage, when they lost the opening game to India by a margin of 124 runs, Pakistan looked down and out but they bounced back strong with victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka to finish second in Group B.

In the semi-final against England, Pakistan looked a different apart as they stunned the hosts with a convincing eight wicket win to reach the final of the tournament.

Crediting the team management to help the team restore their belief, Sarfraz said youngsters like Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali have provided a new dimension to Pakistan.

"After the first loss we were very down, but credit goes to the team management," Sarfraz told a news conference.

"They boosted us up really well. I'm very happy about how my youngsters are performing.

"I said after the loss to India if we play good cricket, definitely we will win this tournament. Now we are in the final."

During the game against England, Pakistan were without their ace seamer Mohammad Amir due to injury with a debutant Rumman Raees taking his place.

However, they were still able to restrict England to 211 runs, courtesy a three-wicket haul from Hasan Ali that included Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes. With the openers Zaman and Azhar Ali providing a 118-run stand, Pakistan chased down the target with ease in 38 overs with eight wickets in hand.

"Credit goes to the bowlers," Sarfraz said. "They bowled really well, especially in the middle part. Hasan is improving day by day.

"I think he (Amir) has a little bit of back spasm.

"Hopefully, he will recover for the final. He's our best strike bowler."

Pakistan now will face India for the second time in the tournament in the final on Sunday at Kennington Oval.

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