ICC Champions Trophy known as ‘Mini World Cup’ playing eight team have come down to knockout stage in its eighth edition. England, Bangladesh, India and lately Pakistan grabbed vacant spot with victory over Sri Lanka. Bangladesh no longer needs to prove again and again that they are grown up as a team. Their performance in this tournament says all about the team improving exponentially.
Well, Host will take on resurgent Pakistan in first semifinal at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Pakistan managed to enter semifinal after tense victory over Islander. While chasing the modest total of 236, they were very much in control initially but lost their way in middle of innings.
Fakhar Zaman looked fantastic who played brilliant half-century knock well supported by experienced and former skipper Azhar Ali. Duo, provided solid platform with 74 runs opening stand but middle order failed to capitalize which made chasing difficult in the end else it would have been a cake-walk for men in green.
Sarfaraz Ahmed played captain’s knock along with Mohammad Amir who takes a lot of credit for his daring inning. Skipper scored 61 runs while left-arm pacer stayed calm and composed along side to score 28 runs of 43 deliveries to take Pakistan into semifinal.
Meanwhile, England were first team to enter semifinal having won all three league games. They have been most consistent and are considered as favorite not only for this game but for trophy too. Host lost the final in last edition of Champions Trophy and now they are on verge of making another final appearance.
Alex Hales performance looks pleasing while Jason Roy remains a cause of concern in English side. Figure of 1, 13, 4 in last three games definitely not going to help him. Eoin Morgan has shown faith in him despite streak of failure, it becomes more interesting that if he is given one more chance or Jonny Bairstow or Sam Billings are given chance.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes are two strong pillars of host. Right-hander have 212 runs under his belt while veteran all-rounder has scored 150 run in two inning he got chance to bat and registered three wickets to his name in three innings.
Liam Plunkett has been leading wicket-taker for England and he also register himself as second leading wicket-takers of tournament just one wicket behind Jos Hazlewood. Adil Rashid has six wickets to his name and deserves a lot of credit for his performance on a pitch which assist more to pacers than spinners.
England will be eyeing final berth for second time while their opponent are yet to make maiden appearance in final. Host go in this game as favorite but unpredictable nature of Pakistan may put England in tough situation. Overall, a good encounter in on the cards and fans would love to see India and Pakistan in Final. What do you think?