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CT 2017: Semi-Final 1, ENG v PAK – 5 Game Changing Moments

Pakistan pulled off yet another stunning victory and made it to the finals

CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 14 : Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan lead the players off after the ICC Champions Trophy match between England and Pakistan at Swalec stadium on June 14, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

The in-form England were up against the spirited Pakistan in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy in Cardiff. Where many believed England to be the favorites to come out on top, Pakistan turned up with yet another brilliant performance and shocked the best team of the tournament so far. It was a totally dominating performance from the Asian side, something that was expected from England.

Sarfaraz Khan won the toss and invited England to bat first. The Pakistani pacers were brilliant up front and troubled the openers. Alex Hales went back early but Jonny Bairstow combined well with Joe Root for the 2nd wicket. But after the dismissals of the duo and the skipper Morgan, the innings lost momentum. Some brilliant death bowling kept the run-scoring down and England were restricted to 211.

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Pakistan’s chase was boosted by Fakhar Zaman’s blitz at the top. He along with Azhar Ali added 118 runs for the first wicket. After their dismissals, Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez took the side past the line safely as they won by 8 wickets with 12.5 overs to spare. Pakistan made it to the final with a clinical performance and will now await the opponent.

Here are the game changing moments from the match:

#1 Hales’s early departure

Alex Hales was in a great form in the early half of the tournament and has been providing great starts. He was kept quiet by the Pakistan pacers who bowled some outstanding lines. He survived a close shave early when he was ruled out LBW off Rumman Raees but DRS saved him as the ball had pitched outside leg.

But the luck didn’t stay with him for long as he was sent back by the same bowler 2 overs later. Hales looked to clear the fielder at covers but ended up giving an easy catch to him. He had to walk back for 13 as England lost the wicket for 34 runs. It was a big wicket in the context of the game for Pakistan.

#2 Root and Morgan’s dismissals in quick succession

At 80/2, Eoin Morgan joined Joe Root in the middle and the duo began to build a solid platform. They added 48 runs for the 3rd wicket but Root was picked up by Shadab Khan in the 28th over. While looking to cut the ball, he ended up edging the ball to the keeper and was removed for 46 off 56 balls.

Morgan too followed him soon when he fell to Hasan Ali in the 32nd over. He walked down the track but nicked a wide ball to the keeper. His stay at the crease was cut short to 33 off 53 balls as they were down to 141/4. The removal of the two best batsmen of the English side gave firm control of the match to Pakistan.

#3 Junaid’s spell

Despite the departure of Root and Morgan, England still had hopes with the presence of a long batting line-up. Junaid Khan had bowled a terrific spell at the top but the lack of fortune left him wicketless. But his fire was yet not down and he came back to inflict a collapse in the English innings.

He first removed the dangerous Jos Buttler in the 35th over and then accounted for the wicket of Moeen Ali as well. His magnificent spell left England reeling at 162/6 in the 39th over with most of the recognized batsmen back in the hut.

#4 Pakistan’s Death bowling

England had lost plenty of wickets but Ben Stokes was still there at the crease for the final 10 overs. Coming on the back of a brilliant century in the last game, he was in prime form and was fully capable of taking the side to a respectable score.

But the 2 left-arm pacers executed the yorkers perfectly and didn’t let him break free. Junaid and Raees extracted reverse swing and mixed it up with slower balls that foxed the batsmen. Stokes could not hit a single boundary in his knock of 34 off 64 balls and they could manage only 41 runs from the last 10 overs and lost 4 wickets.

#5 Fakhar and Azhar’s closure

Chasing 211 to win, Pakistan required a solid platform up front. It was provided by Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali. Where Fakhar scored freely from the outset, Azhar played second fiddle to him. The duo thrashed all the hopes of a comeback for England.

Fakhar scored 57 off 58 balls with 7 fours and a six and got out after adding 118 runs for the 1st wicket. Azhar carried on to score 76 off 10 balls but when the departed, Pakistan were already knocking on the doors of victory.

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