Pakistan to face England in first semi-final today
CARDIFF (92 News) – Pakistan will face England in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy at Cardiff on Wednesday.
England, the only side yet to lose in the tournament, begin as favorites after winning 11 out of 12 ODIs and posting in excess of 300 in five of the past six matches in which they have batted first. Their blistering form with the bat continues the dramatic turnaround in fortunes since Eoin Morgan’s side crashed out of the 2015 World Cup at the group stage.
In 47 ODIs since then, England batsmen have scored 25 centuries, compared with 22 in 88 matches during the previous four years. Three of those have come from the bat of Jason Roy but the opener could lose his spot to Jonny Bairstow at Cardiff after scoring just 51 runs in eight innings.
In a fitting turn of events, England will go into the game after a quiet, controlled few days in which the only thing on their minds is whether to drop Jason Roy and bring in Jonny Bairstow.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will take the field just 38 hours after a manic victory over Sri Lanka in which both teams descended into outright panic. “We won ugly yesterday. We can’t sugar coat that fact,” Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said on Tuesday (June 13).
Such a rushed turnaround might unsettle some teams – the ones who like everything to be just so – but it might well suit Pakistan, who prefer to play on instinct and emotion. Of course there will be concerns about their middle order, about whether they might have used up all of their luck already, but equally there is the feeling that such a mercurial, unpredictable team is the only one likely to knock England out of their stride as they eye their first piece of 50-over silverware in an ICC event.
In the second Semi-final, Bangladesh will take on India at Birmingham on Thursday. The winning teams of both the semi-finals will meet in the final at Oval on Sunday.