Pakistan through to the Champions Trophy Finals

Erasmus Tucker to officiate Pak England game

Pakistan advanced to the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy final on the back of a superb bowling performance and a century opening stand, as they crushed England by eight wickets in their semi-final clash in Cardiff yesterday.

Pakistan were thrashed by 124 runs by defending champions India in the first group match in the eight-team tournament, but rebounded quickly to beat South Africa and Sri Lanka to qualify for their third Champions Trophy semi-finals.

"Going into today's game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan's game closer to their home".

Prasing both his bowlers and batsmen for the stupendous win, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said: "We bowled very well and after that the batting was good too". We did prepare like we were going to play on a used wicket.

Q. Following off that, do you feel that it was kind of your side's failure to adapt to those conditions really that cost you?

Pakistan - who are the lowest ranked team in the tournament - could now gain revenge over India for their opening-game defeat, but only if Virat Kohli's side can overcome Bangladesh in the second semi-final on Thursday.

"Every game is a knockout game and I told my boys to play their game and not worry about the result".

"I think he (Amir) has a little bit of back spasm". It is something they appreciate more than most after a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore turned Pakistan into a "no-go area" for the world's top teams, with the United Arab Emirates now their adopted 'home'.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had a simpler explanation for Wednesday's outcome, saying: "We played very well". Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first on a slow and abrasive pitch which saw the England batsman battle to find any fluidity.

"Last time we played here although we were 4-0 down [in a five-match series], still the Pakistani supporters came to support us and it was like we were playing at home", recalled Ali.

"We played really well in the competition but we weren't at our best on the day". The team has reached the score comfortably in 37.1 overs and the team scored 215 run reaching the finals comfortably which will be held on 18th June against the team which would win in the match between India and Bangladesh.

I notice there has been a lot of discussion about the conditions in Cardiff and whether they should have favoured England more than they did.

"The turnaround is built on the inclusion of youngsters and it could only be done by a Pakistan team", said Ramiz Raja, an ex-Pakistan captain who now works as a cricket commentator.

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