Sarfraz, Amir guide Pakistan to semi-finals
Pakistan 237-7 (Sarfraz 61no) beat
Sri Lanka 236 (Dickwella 73) by three wickets
12th match, Group B, ICC Champions Trophy, Cardiff
Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir shared an unbeaten 75 run stand for the eighth wicket as Pakistan chased down 237 against Sri Lanka in the 45th over with three wickets in hand at Sophia Gardens to make it to the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament.
Dickwella fires despite wickets falling around
Pakistan won the toss and decided to field first. Niroshan Dickwella (73) and Danushka Gunathilaka (13) scored two boundaries each in the first four overs before the latter mistimed one to mid off to give Junaid Khan (3-40) his first wicket. Kusal Mendis (27) continued off from where he left against India as seen during his couple of classic boundaries in the 10th over by the end of which Sri Lanka were placed at 50 for one. The duo brought their 50-run stand off 50 deliveries before Mendis was castled by Hasan Ali (3-43). In the very next over, Fahim Ashraf (2-37) got his maiden wicket when he castled Dinesh Chandimal (0), who lasted just two deliveries as Sri Lanka slipped to 85 for three.Follow all the action in the tournament on our Live Cricket Scores section or if you fancy a punt on who is going to win check the latest cricket betting odds at Bet Bright.
Dickwella-Mathews consolidate but Pakistan had innings under control
The regular fall of wickets had impact on Dickwella innings as well as he had to tone down and completed a 52-ball fifty. Angelo Mathews (39), who started his innings with caution, scored the only six in the innings that came in the 26th over. The duo put things on track taking Sri Lanka to 160 for three in 30 overs. However, Amir (2-53) and Junaid picked two wickets apiece in a span of four overs to peg Sri Lanka back. Amir dismissed both the set batsmen, Mathews and Dickwella while Junaid accounted for Dhananjaya de Silva (1) and Thisara Perera (1). Things could have been even more worse for Sri Lanka had Azhar Ali not dropped Asela Gunaratne (27) in the 34th over as Sri Lanka were left reeling at 187 for seven in 40 overs.
Sri Lanka showed some late fight through Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal (26) with their 46 run stand for the eighth wickets as they managed to post 236 before they were dismissed in the final over. Hasan and Junaid picked three wickets each for Pakistan while Ashraf and Junaid managed two apiece.
Pakistan off to solid start with the bat
Azhar (34) had an early reprieve when he was dropped at backward point by Gunathilaka (0-2) in the first over from Lasith Malinga (1-52). Fakhar Zaman (50) took the attack to the opposition scoring four boundaries in his first nine deliveries. The onslaught from the duo continued as they reached their 50 run stand off just 53 deliveries with Zaman scoring the majority of it. At the end of the first powerplay, Pakistan were positioned 65 for naught, needing just 163 more to win from 40 overs.
Seamers bring Sri Lanka back into game
Zaman, who reached a 34-ball fifty, fell immediately after it to Nuwan Pradeep (3-60), who also had Babar Azam (10), few overs later. Mohammad Hafeez (1) had another failure when he edged one to mid on off Perera (1-43) while Lakmal (1-48) had Azhar caught in the slips. Sri Lanka capitalised on the slide from Pakistan as Malinga and Pradeep dismissed Shoaib Malik (11) and Imad Wasim (4) in successive overs and Pakistan slipped from 92 for one to 137 for six.
Sarfraz and lower order rescue Pakistan to pull off incredible win
Just it looked like all was lost for Pakistan, Sarfraz (61 not out) added a vital 30 run stand for the seventh wicket with Ashraf (15) before an indecision in running costed the latter's wicket. Sarfraz enjoyed couple of drop chances off Malinga in the 39th and 41st over from Perera and substitute fielder Seekkuge Prasanna as Sri Lanka continued to remain sloppy on the field. In the 42nd over, Sarfraz hit a couple of boundaries to bring the 50-run stand with Amir (28 not out) and also his own half-century as the required runs came down to 20 which Pakistan completed in the next 17 deliveries to complete the chase in 44.5 overs. Sarfraz was awarded the man of the match for his responsible knock as Pakistan will now face England in the semi-final on Wednesday.
© Cricket World 2017