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Not many would have expected Pakistan to march into the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. They didn’t get off to an ideal start in the tournament but recovered well after the India defeat and beat South Africa and Sri Lanka in the group stage. In the semi-final, the Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit was up against tournament favourites England and they completely outplayed the opposition. Pakistan skipper was a happy man after the win and felt chasing worked for his side.
“We bowled very well and after that the batting was good too. Mohammad Amir wasn’t playing but Raees came in and did well. We elected to bowl and chase again,” said Sarfraz at the post-match presentation.
India outplayed Pakistan in their opener but Pakistan raised their game for the remaining matches. Sarfraz is ready for any opposition and hopes to do well in the final.
“After India, every game was a knockout game, I said to the players to just play your game,” said Sarfraz. On playing a possible rematch with the neighbours, Sarfraz said, “Both teams are playing well, so we will play whoever gets through.”
The skipper lavished praise on Hasan Ali who changed the game for Paksitan in the middle overs with a brilliant spell. “He’s very impressive, hopefully he will do that in the final;. Whenever he comes on he’s getting wickets,” Sarfraz concluded.
Losing skipper Eoin Morgan said England didn’t adapt to the conditions on offer for the semi-final against Pakistan.
“One thing we didn’t do was adapt to conditions, coming from Edgbaston to a used wicket, Pakistan did that well and played better. We did prepare, Pakistan bowled well but we didn’t adjust and 200 isn’t competitive, 250-270 would be a good score. We bowled okay but 200 was well under par. We continue to learn, everything we did was calculated, but Pakistan had played on the wicket previously and that helped. You have to adapt in knockout cricket, so it’s an important lesson,” said Morgan.
Hasan Ali, who is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, spoke about how Azhar Mahmood helped him plan.
“It’s a big match, so we focused on our bowling. My coach Azhar helped me a lot (after India game), he gave me the plan and I implemented it. Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday and I dedicate this (man of the match award in the semi-final) to him.”