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Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by three wickets in their final group stage fixture of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. In a match that looked like it could go both ways at various points, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir held strong for Pakistan after a middle order collapse to push them through to the semi-final.
Pakistan produced a clinical performance with the ball to ensure that Sri Lanka were dismissed for a total of 236. Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir had triggered a middle order collapse and Sri Lanka, who were 161/3 at one stage, found themselves tottering at 167/7. Asela Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal then ensured that they cross the 200-run mark and Gunaratne further pushed them to the total that they ended up making.
Pakistan started on a strong note with openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman putting up a strong 74-run stand. Pakistan were cruising to a win at that stage. But it all started to go awry after Zaman was dismissed. Sri Lanka kept the pressure on and Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals. While they were cruising at 74/0 at one point, they found themselves 137/6 when the wicket of Imad Wasim fell.
But Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir remained calm and kept picking runs. They were helped a great deal by a meltdown of sorts by Sri Lanka on the field. Both batsmen were dropped multiple times and suddenly, Sri Lanka found themselves under pressure in a match that looked like theirs to win when Wasim departed. Sri lanka could not stem the flow of runs and Sarfraz managed to get to a well-worked half-century.
Here are a few reactions to the match:
Great match,but Sri Lanka pathetic in the field. One of the worst fielding performances ever at International level. Congrats Pak.#PAKvSL
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 12 June 2017
There is a great sense of co-operation on display here. Pakistan offering the match and Sri Lanka politely declining.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 12 June 2017
— Kamran Akmal (@KamiAkmal23) June 12, 2017
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) 12 June 2017
Pakistan will now face England on Wednesday while the second semi-final will be between India and Bangladesh on Thursday.