CT2017: Pakistan rewrite record books as it march into finals

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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was understandably proud of his inexperienced team following their unexpected and emphatic eight-wicket victory over hosts England in the Champions Trophy semi-finals on Wednesday.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said before the semi-final that if his side played their "best game" they could "put pressure" on England. "We've played some really good cricket throughout the whole of this summer, and so it was frustrating not being able to win it".

"Going into this game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan's game closer to their home. We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament, and certainly we found out the other day that today was going to be on a used wicket", Morgan said after the match on Wednesday.

Openers Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) made it a comfortable chase from the start as Pakistan reached 215-2 in 37.1 overs in reply to England's unimpressive 211 all out with one ball left. "They adjusted to conditions extremely well", he said.

The left-hander's comment didn't go down too well with former Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis, who took to Twitter to slam Morgan.

But, the star batsman, England's Test skipper, is determined to continue their swashbuckling performance in 2019 World Cup at home. Earlier, Pakistan seamers dished out a superb bowling effort to finish the England innings in 49.5 overs at the Sophia Gardens. "After two years of positive one-day batting, that is the biggest disappointment", read his column.

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Speaking after the match Sarfraz said: "After the India match, we just motivated the guys".

"Finishing third or fourth, I think that's about right where we sit in world cricket at the moment".

Since their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 edition, England had won plaudits for the dynamic way they had re-invented themselves as a "white-ball" side and they came into this match having won 11 of their previous 12 ODIs.

Pakistan will face either India or Bangladesh in the final on Sunday at the Oval. But England suffered their first loss of the tournament and in a match that was not ideal to loss. Having been rewarded a year ago for showing up in full voice despite four consecutive defeats in the previous fortnight, the Pakistan faithful were rewarded again for their loyal support on Wednesday. "They have worked really worked hard to get this far and I feel so bad when people work so hard and the ex-captains or ex-players talk bad about the team", Harbhajan told India Today.

Hasan, who stands as the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 10 scalps after his 3 for 35 in Cardiff, suffered a shin problem while Imad tweaked a calf.

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