Pakistan outplayed England to win the first semi-finals by 8 wickets at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff just few moments ago. Deciding to bowl, Pakistani bowlers did an excellent job to restrict the strong England batting line up to 211 while chasing Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali strong opening partnership helped Pakistan to chase down the target with ease.
Pakistan captain Sarfarz Ahmed won the toss and elected to field at Cardiff. Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales started off the England innings putting on 34 runs in 5.5 overs as Hales was dismissed by debutant Raees. At the end of 10 overs, the hosts were 52 for 1. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root added 54 runs for the second wicket. Both of them were playing well but trying to hit a big shot Bairstow was dismissed 43. Joe Root and Captain Eoin Morgan steadied the innings with another good partnership of 48 runs for the third wicket.
In the middle overs, the Pakistan bowlers were brilliant and captain Sarfarz Ahmed brought down right bowling changes. After Joe Root’s dismissal at the score of 128 in the 28th over, the hosts were tied down losing wickets at regular and not able to score runs freely. From the 11th to 40th, England scored 117 runs for loss of 5 wickets.
Chasing 211, the Pakistani openers Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali started the innings on a positive note adding 49 runs during the first 10 overs. The left handed opener who is playing his 3rd game put the pressure on the England bowlers while Azhar Ali also gave him full support. Zaman completed his fifty in 49 balls while Azhar Ali took 68 balls to complete his fifty. Fakhar was finally dismissed for 57 in 58 balls to end an excellent 118 runs partnership for the first wicket in 21.1 overs. Babar Azam came to the crease and started to play attacking strokes while Azhar Ali continued to play his natural game.
Azhar Ali and Babar Azam added 55 runs for the second wicket as Azhar Ali was dismissed for 76. Mohammed Hafeez scored 31 in 21 balls while Babar Azam remained not out on 38 in 45 balls. Pakistan won the match by 8 wickets with 77 balls to spare.
Pakistan 215 for 2 in 37.1 overs ( Azhar Ali 76, Fakhar Zaman 57) beat England 211 in 49.5 overs ( Joe Root 46, Hasan Ali 3/35) by 8 wickets
India will face Bangladesh in the second semi-finals tomorrow.