|Champions Trophy, semi-final, Cardiff:|
|England 211 (49.5 overs): Root 46, Bairstow 43, Hasan 3-35|
|Pakistan 215-2 (37.1 overs): Azhar 76, Fakhar 57|
|Pakistan won by eight wickets|
England’s Champions Trophy hopes were ended by an eight-wicket semi-final thrashing at the hands of Pakistan in Cardiff.
England struggled on a slow pitch against some brilliant Pakistan bowling and fielding, mustering only 211.
Fakhar Zaman’s 57 launched Pakistan’s chase, while Azhar Ali made 76 as victory was sealed with 12.5 overs to spare.
Pakistan will play India or Bangladesh in Sunday’s final at The Oval.
England move on to a Twenty20 series against South Africa next week, but the disappointment of this defeat could linger for some time.
Eoin Morgan’s men were favourites to win the tournament, but were comprehensively outplayed in the Welsh sunshine in front of a crowd full of noisy and energetic Pakistan supporters.
England dream ended by resurgent Pakistan
While England eased to the semis through some wonderful all-round displays, Pakistan had to recover from an opening-game hammering by India and only scraped into the last four with a thrilling defeat of Sri Lanka on Monday.
However, it was Pakistan who better adjusted to the used, worn surface, stifling England’s much-vaunted batting line-up. The hosts could manage only seven fours in their final 30 overs and not a single six throughout.
In contrast, Pakistan plundered runs freely against an attack that offered too many opportunities to score. England may point to conditions that did not suit them, but the margin of the defeat shows that is no excuse.
This was an outstanding opportunity for England to win their first global 50-over trophy, ended by the team that beat them in 1992 World Cup final.
Pakistan pile on the pressure
Midway through the England innings, the game was delicately poised. The hosts had reached 118-2 with Morgan and Test captain Joe Root at the crease.
From there, though, Pakistan were imperious. Led by pace bowler Hasan Ali, who took 3-35, and backed up by some tigerish fielding that improved after Jonny Bairstow (43) was dropped twice, Sarfraz Ahmed’s team squeezed the host nation.
Root was caught behind off 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan for a busy 46 and Morgan played a loose waft to edge Hasan and depart for 33.
It began a regular fall of wickets around Ben Stokes, who failed to find the boundary in a 64-ball 34.
Moeen Ali was brilliantly caught at deep square leg by Fakhar, Adil Rashid was run out by sub fielder Ahmed Shehzad’s direct hit and, when Mark Wood was run out attempting a single to wicketkeeper Sarfraz, it completed a collapse of eight wickets for 83 runs.
England smashed out of Cardiff
England’s hopes rested on taking early wickets, but they were punctured by the strokeplay of Fakhar, who threw everything at the new ball.
Facing a barrage of short deliveries, left-hander Fakhar was hit on the head by Wood, but also caused chaos with pulls to the boundary and a top edge over wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s head for six.
He shared 118 with Azhar before being stumped off Rashid, leaving Azhar to snuff out any hopes of an England revival in a stand of 55 with Babar Azam.
Although Azhar was bowled by Jake Ball, Babar and Mohammad Hafeez accelerated towards the finish line. England were well beaten long before Hafeez pulled Stokes for the winning boundary.
‘Pakistan peaking at the perfect time’- what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: “The fact we’ve produced brilliant performances in this tournament and then play like that on this wicket is extremely disappointing.”
“We were the only unbeaten side in the tournament in what was a very tough group and we did it our way.
“We played really positive smart cricket, so there are some big positives to take.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss: “All credit to Pakistan today – they were too good for us. Our bowlers probably tried to chase the wickets too much and served up too many half-volleys.
“There’s a number of our guys who haven’t been at this level before and it is a learning curve.
“Finishing third or fourth, I think that’s about right where we sit in world cricket at the moment. We’ve got a long way to go until we reach the level we want to get to and a level I believe we’re good enough to get to.”
Injured England bowler Chris Woakes on Test Match Special: “Pakistan opted to bowl first, which we all thought was the wrong decision as we thought the pitch would deteriorate and become harder to score on.
“England got stuck in the middle period after starting well, then were well set at 100-2. But we lost our way in the middle period. When the ball got older it looked harder to bat and we struggled to gain momentum.
“Pakistan have played the perfect game – they’re peaking at the perfect time.”
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed: “Credit goes to the bowlers and the batters, who finished it very well.
“We adapted to conditions. We knew if we restrict them we could easily chase it down.
“Every game is a knockout game and I told my boys to play their game and not worry about the result.”