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Pakistan’s win over England by eight wickets to march into the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 has set the cricket world abuzz, especially after their indifferent performances in the group stages. Starting off the tournament, Pakistan were considered as the underdogs in their group which consisted of India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, but the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side has managed to produce a better show after their 124-run defeat to India in the tournament opener.
Ian Bell believes the Eoin Morgan-led England side showed a poor display of cricket in the ICC tournament. “England played arguably its poorest game in the last couple of years and sadly for us home fans, it meant there was really only one team in it,” he wrote in his column for ICC.
The 35-year old right-hander also accepted that Pakistan were fantastic in the semi-final clash as they outplayed the ‘Three Lions’ in every aspect. Right from the beginning of England’s innings, Pakistan stuck to their plan and didn’t try to do much. Pacers Hasan Ali and the debutant Romman Raees were brilliant with the ball as they continued to trouble the English batsmen with their attacking approach.
“Pakistan was fantastic. From the first over, the aggression of its bowlers was really impressive, and our batsmen struggled against Pakistan’s pace and variation. The bowlers hit the pitch hard but also mixed it up with an array of slower balls at the right times. Combined with England’s apparent issues with the pitch, Pakistan didn’t give them a sniff.”
With the wickets falling on regular intervals, all-rounder Ben Stokes, who had struck a century against Australia, found it difficult to steal boundaries as he did not hit a single boundary in his knock of 34 runs.
Bell was critical of England’s batting approach and said, “For Ben Stokes, of all people, not to hit a boundary in 64 balls, and only get 34 runs in total, shows just how impressive the Pakistan bowling attack was. We didn’t hit one six yesterday, despite hitting 23 in our group games.”
Predicting an India-Pakistan final, Bell believes Pakistan has a chance to avenge their earlier defeat. “As for Pakistan, Sunday is going to be massive. It’ll give them a chance to avenge that earlier defeat to India. The atmosphere at The Oval is going to be sensational, it’s going to be a wonderful occasion,” he concluded.