Champions Trophy 2017: Pakistan outplay England by eight wickets, reach final

England Captain Eoin Morgan

England Captain Eoin Morgan

England captain Eoin Morgan believed his team failed to adjust to the used pitch at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff as the title favourites went down by eight wickets in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy on Wednesday.

Joe Root accepted England had missed a "golden chance" to end their long wait for a maiden one-day worldwide title after a crushing eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by Pakistan. If we play good cricket, definitely we will win this tournament.

Asked how that came about, Morgan said: "I think the explanation is they played two days ago on it". "We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament".

The inclusion of Rumman was one of two changes to Pakistan's XI following their win over Sri Lanka, with 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan also coming in for medium-pace allrounder Faheem Ashraf, despite the latter's impressive debut on Monday.

But the real damage was done when England collapsed to 211 all out after Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed sent them in to bat on a used pitch.

Hafeez, who started off clobbering all-rounder Ben Stokes for a massive six, got the winning runs with a boundary off the same bowler as Pakistan overhauled the target with 77 balls to spare.

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Pakistan bowlers chipped away at the wickets at regular intervals and aided by some good fielding, curtailed England for what was their lowest total in the tournament.

Pakistan will now wait for the winners of the all-Asian clash on Thursday to see whom they face on Sunday at The Oval as they look to lift their first ever ICC Champions Trophy - the only ICC trophy they have never won.

"We've played worse than this over the last couple of years and been knocked over fairly easily in some games, (but) it doesn't seem to affect them", he said. England had been the runner-up in the previous edition of Champions Trophy in 2013.

"I don't think there was any home advantage", he added.

On the prospect of a rematch with India in the final, Sarfraz smiled and said: "Best of luck to both of them".

He added: "One of the things about knockout cricket is that you have to adapt to conditions".

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The hosts cruised through Group A with a ideal record following wins over Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia to lend further weight to widespread pre-tournament predictions that Eoin Morgan's men are the team to beat.

"I think it does, and I think Joe Root in a similar vein".

"Credit goes to the bowlers and the batters who finished it very well", Sarfraz said in his post match comments. It depends what the ICC want to get out of the tournament.

"I'm just very disappointed", said Root, who top-scored for England with 46.

Bangladesh were beaten by India in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals, and were eliminated from last year's World Twenty20 when, with two runs required from three balls, they lost three wickets.

Morgan's opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed hailed Pakistan's near ideal performance. We must give credit to the selection committee for selecting these players from the domestic circuit and their performances in the PSL.

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"We just motivated the guys - "don't worry about the India match, it's gone ... if we play good cricket, definitely we will win this tournament".

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