Sunday, November 19, 2017
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Champions Trophy: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to set up England semi-final


Pak-Beats-Sri-LPakistan will face England in the Champions Trophy semi-finals on Wednesday after a thrilling three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Cardiff.


Junaid Khan (3-40) and Hasan Ali (3-43) impressed for Pakistan as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 236, losing four wickets for six runs.


Pakistan also struggled with the bat before captain Sarfraz Ahmed's unbeaten 61 saw them to a memorable victory.


India will face Bangladesh in the other semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday.


Despite making hard work of Monday's win, it is a remarkable comeback from Pakistan after they lost their opening game of the tournament to rivals India.


If they can overcome England in Cardiff, Pakistan will contest their first Champions Trophy final on Sunday.


It is a disappointing end to the tournament for Sri Lanka, who failed to build on their stunning win over India last week.


Sri Lanka collapse, Amir and Junaid roar


After losing Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal before the end of the 16th over, Sri Lanka recovered to 161-3 with captain Angelo Mathews looking settled at the crease.


However, in a spell of left-arm seam bowling which at times was reminiscent of Wasim Akram, Mohammad Amir and Junaid turned the game on its head.


Amir took the wicket of Mathews (39), who bottom-edged a pull shot to send the ball crashing into the stumps.


Dhananjaya de Silva, making his first appearance of the tournament, was caught behind for just one after a fine delivery from Junaid found some movement off the turf.


As his team-mates faltered, opener Niroshan Dickwella had provided some stability for Sri Lanka. He paced his innings nicely, scoring four boundaries before he departed for 73 courtesy of a tremendous one-handed diving catch by Sarfraz behind the stumps off the bowling of Amir.


Then Thisara Perera (1) edged Junaid to slip after swinging wildly and Sri Lanka had collapsed to 167-7.


Aside from that game-changing spell in the middle overs, it was a professional performance from Pakistan's other two seamers.


Debutant Faheem Ashraf picked up two Sri Lankan wickets, while Hasan Ali produced another terrific bowling display.


As Sri Lanka looked to be heading towards a score of around 250, Hasan - the pick of the bowlers in Pakistan's win over South Africa at Edgbaston - took the wicket of Suranga Lakmal (26) with a superb slower-ball off-cutter which just clipped the bail.

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