Sri Lanka need to come up with concrete plan, says Roshan Mahanama

Friday, 16 Jun, 2017

Hosts England and Pakistan will square off against each other in the first semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy which will be played at Cardiff on Wednesday.

After losing to India and clinching a rain-affected must-win game against world number one South Africa, Pakistan started well yesterday when pacers Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir struck in the middle overs to rattle the Sri Lankan middle order, which saw Angelo Mathews' men lose their last seven wickets for 75 runs.

"There's a chance we could make a change. We were probably soft at times yesterday (against Sri Lanka)", he said.

A similar offense on Wednesday would see him banned from the final should Pakistan beat England.

India will play Bangladesh in Thursday's second semi-final at Edgbaston, with the final at the Oval on Sunday. Electing to field, Pakistan seamers dished out a superb bowling effort to finish the England innings in 49.5 overs at Sophia Gardens.

Sarfraz, meanwhile, probably wishes he could bat at Cardiff all the time, with the wicket-keeper having made 90 on the same ground previous year as Pakistan chased down a target of 303 against England in a four-wicket win that prevented a 5-0 ODI series whitewash.

As for Pakistan, this wasn't meant to be their day or them tournament, but they are in the finals, call it luck or sheer brilliance, the side stuck together, believed in themselves and now anything can happen.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said:" "We've got nothing to lose, yes, but we've always said we're in it to win it.

Pakistan will be boosted by its skipper's match-winning knock against Sri Lanka.

Joe Root top-scored with 46 and Jonny Bairstow, recalled in place of dropped opener Jason Roy, managed 43 in an innings without a single six. Root has featured in 37 ODIs after the world cup and with 1954 runs; he's only 25 runs away from leapfrogging Warner to claim the top spot in the run scoring charts in the specified timeline.

Azhar, on 76, dragged a delivery from Jake Ball on to his stumps before Babar (38 not out) and Hafeez (31 not out) guided Pakistan home.

The bowlers, who were the heroes of the win over the Proteas, again set the game up for their batsmen by restricting Sri Lanka to just 236, but Pakistan being Pakistan made what should have been a comfortable chase into a nail-biting one.

Asked how that came about, Morgan said: "I think the explanation is they played two days ago on it".

Earlier, England struggled on a slow pitch against a disciplined Pakistan attack to limp to a paltry total of 211 all out.