Cardiff: Pakistan pulled of an emphatic three wicket win over Sri Lanka to storm into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy on Monday. Here are the talking points from Cardiff:
Match winning partnership between Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir
A flurry of wickets in the middle overs almost had Pakistan on the mat. They were reduced to 162/7 and things looked bleak for Sarfraz Ahmed and his men chasing Sri Lanka’s total of 236.
He started off slowly but then once he found his groove, he started backing up his skipper with a few well timed shots. Amir’s batting took the pressure off Sarfraz Ahmed too who sensibly concentrated on rotating the strike.
Contrary to smashing their way out of trouble, they ran hard between the wickets and saw their team through to the finals. By the time Pakistan got home the duo had put on an unbeaten stand of 75 runs for the 8th wicket.
Sri Lanka dropping easy catches
It all started with Gunathilaka dropping Azhar Ali in the very first over of the innings. The right-hander smashed one from Malinga straight into the hands of the Sri Lankan fielder but he failed to grab it. Ali went onto score 34 for his side.
The second drop was from Thisara Perera. One he will remember throughout his life. Pakistan were still struggling at 193/7 when Malinga outfoxed Sarfraz with a slower ball. The Pakistan batsman only managed to chip it to mid off where it popped out of Perera’s hands. The Sri Lankan tried to recover but couldn’t do so in time.
An over later, it was Malinga and Sarfraz again at the thick of things. Malinga this time tried the bouncer and Sarfraz only managed to hook it to square leg, substitute fielder Seekuge put in the dive but could not hold on to the catch.
With the dropped catches, went Sri Lanka’s chances of winning the game too as they lost by three wickets.
Sarfraz’s match winning knock of 61 not out
Sarfraz came into bat with his side struggling at 111/4 in the 20th over. He knew very well he had to come up with something special to win his side the game.
He knocked the ones and twos and picked up the occasional boundary to settle down first. But by the time he reached 22, Pakistan had lost seven.
With Mohammad Amir by his side he slowly knit a partnership and inched towards their target. He cracked his fifty en route and by the time he finished getting his side home he remained unconquered on 61.
Fakhar Zaman’s crucial fifty at the top of the order
Playing only his second ODI game, Zaman smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the park and got Pakistan off to a flier.
The left-hander just took 36 balls to reach his half-century smashing 8 boundaries and one six en route. It was also because of his knock that Pakistan kept at par with the asking rate through out the game and never fell back too far behind.
Hassan Ali and Junaid Khan hunting in pair
Pakistan have always been a team with superb fast bowlers. And they put some scintillating fast-bowling on display with Hassan Ali and Junaid Khan wrecking havoc in the Sri Lankan batting lineup. Both bowlers snared three wickets each as fell from 162/3 to 236 all out.