In a virtual quarterfinal between the two South Asian nations, it was Pakistan's captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who took his team through to the semifinals, thanks largely to some terrible, very bad fielding and catching from Sri Lanka. The other semi-final will pit Group B winners India against Group A runners-up Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday.
But it wasn't to be enough as, despite Pakistan suffering a middle-order wobble of their own, Sarfraz and Amir combined - their unbroken 75-run stand a Champions Trophy record for the eighth wicket - to guide their team to victory and secure a return to Cardiff on Wednesday to face England.
As Mohammad Amir bowled to Asela Gunaratne, the Sri Lankan edged it before Sarfraz dived to catch the ball. But captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who had already distinguished himself with two fine catches behind the stumps, steadied the innings, steering them home to 237-7 in the 45th over with a match-winning innings of 61 from 79 balls.
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Sarfraz Ahmed sent his side into the last four of the tournament after helping piece together a big comeback for Pakistan, who were chasing down a rather feeble-looking Sri Lanka score of 236. Indeed, when Niroshan Dickwella, who top-scored with 73, and Angelo Mathews were in tandem, they looked destined for even bigger things, the pair's 78-run partnership in 16 overs seeing them to 161 for three in the 32nd over.
Chasing a total of 237, Pakistan went off to a good start boasting on the knocks of Azhar Ali (34) and Fakhar Zaman (50). Sri lanka could not stem the flow of runs and Sarfraz managed to get to a well-worked half-century.
Amir was brought into the attack and he delivered with his second ball, getting rid of Mathews, who miscued a shot and dragged it onto his stumps.
Junaid saw the back of Thisara Perera to rattle the Lankan innings.