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England picked a wrong day to be out of colour. In what have been an impressive run since the 2015 World Cup loss to Bangladesh, England were called the favourite to lift the ICC Champions Trophy before its start. But, England were strangled by the impressive Pakistan bowling and later the home team bowlers were thrashed by Pakistan batsmen in the semi-final on a dry Cardiff pitch and were dumped out of the Champions Trophy.
Pakistan rode on disciplined and aggressive bowling which bowled out England for 211 and later the batsmen, led by fifties from opener Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali, chased down the total with eight wickets and 12.5 overs remaining. Pakistan reached their first ever Champions Trophy final and will take on the winner of the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh.
In a Pakistan unit which was not seen until Wednesday in the Champions Trophy, the team clicked in all three departments of the game. The impressive bowling was backed by the fielders who, despite a couple of chances, held on to catches and even caused a run-out. The batsmen later completed the performance with a calculated chase in which they hardly looked in trouble.
England, who have reached 300-plus scores in one-day internationals more than any other team in the past 12 months, struggled with the bat. They called up Jonny Bairstow to replace a struggling Jason Roy as an opener. He opened the innings with Alex Hales but after putting up 34 runs for the first wicket, Hales was dismissed by debutant Rumman Raees.
Bairstow survived two chances, a dropped catch and an agonisingly close leg-before call, before he fell for 43. He tried to play a front-foot pull shot to Hasan Ali but could not control it. He was caught at fine-leg.
Mohammad Amir was ruled out of the game just before toss but Pakistan did not need him. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were looking to rebuild the innings and they did put on 48 runs for the fourth wicket. But, spinner Shadab Khan had Root caught behind for 46 to break the stand.
As the ball got softer, Pakistan bowlers got it to reverse. Morgan was finding it difficult to time the ball and charged in desperation on wide Hasan delivery only to edge it behind to Sarfraz.