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Sarfraz, Amir lead Pakistan to Champion Trophy semi-finals

CARDIFF: Pakistan hold their nerves under pressure to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at Cardiff on Monday. After bowling out Sri Lanka for 236, Pakistan were off to a fluent start before a mid-innings collapse derailed the chase. Under pressure, Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir combined well to anchor the side home in the tense chase. They will now face England in the semi-final.

Sensible batting by Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir, after the mid-innings collapse, anchors green shirts to win over Sri Lanka, into the semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final.

Pakistan, chasing a seemingly modest 237 to win, collapsed to 162 for seven.

But an unbroken stand of 75 between Sarfraz, dropped twice on his way to 61 not out, and Mohammad Amir (28 not out) saw Pakistan complete a thrilling win.

Other than the opener Fakhar Zaman, none of Pakistan’s middle-order batsman could perform to capitalise on the strong opening stand provided by Zaman.

Babar Azam, Hafeez and Azhar disappointed Pakistani fans while all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim too could not stay on the pitch for long.

It was the 75 run invincible partnership between bowler Mohammad Amir and captain Sarfraz which saw Pakistan home.

Pakistan will return to Sophia Gardens for a last-four clash with tournament hosts England in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had to win on Monday to join already qualified title-holders India from Group B in the knockout stages of a tournament featuring the world’s top eight one-day international sides.

Pakistan started their group campaign with a woeful 124-run defeat by arch-rivals India but bounced back to defeat top-ranked South Africa before this success against Sri Lanka.

India will play Bangladesh in Thursday’s second semi-final at Edgbaston, with the final at the Oval on Sunday.

Earlier Pakistani pacers sent back the whole Sri Lankan team to pavilion on 236 after Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to field against Sri Lanka.

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Hamza Jaffery

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