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England are the only unbeaten team in the tournament but they are not the only favourite to win the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. India have edged ahead of them and Pakistan are giving them a tough fight. But one of England and Pakistan will have to suffer the fate of not winning it as the two teams face each other in the first semi-final of the tournament on Wednesday.
England have all bases covered while Pakistan are still the most unpredictable side in the tournament. While England have batsmen who have helped them scored 300-plus total in last five out of six matches, they bowling has been equally good as they have defended their target three in last five matches. Pakistan bowlers have woken up after their game against Sri Lanka while the batsmen have got a new zeal after captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s stunning knock took them to semi-finals. Here are a few players to watch out for in the semi-final.
Ben Stokes: The England all rounder has been in terrific form. His he been on on target with the ball and has been considerably good with the bat. He already has a century in the tournament and even Virat Kohli tweeted about his admiration for Stokes!
Hasan Ali: He celebrates a wicket like there is no tomorrow. Hasan has been Pakistan’s best bowler in the tournament. Pakistan will once again rely on him to choke the star England batting line-up which has been racking up big totals.
Fakhar Zaman: In the two matches he has played, Fakhar has scored two half-centuries. The exciting opener will once again be the key to Pakistan’s success with the bat. If Pakistan want to put on a good batting performance, they need the openers to fire.
Liam Plunkett: The fast bowler will be the best bet for England in the middle overs. Coming as first change, Plunkett can control the run-flow in the middle phase and put pressure on the Pakistan batsmen.
Shoaib Malik: The experience of Malik in this all important semi-final can prove to the difference for Pakistan. He can exploit the bowling and also stabilise the innings. If he gets going for Pakistan, England may not remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament.