Pakistan beat Sri Lanka, to meet England in ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final

(Mussab Tariq, Gujranwala)

Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed in action against Sri Lanka during the ICC Champions Trophy.

Pakistan has won the Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka today at Cardiff in a crucial Champions Trophy fixture that would send one of the teams packing out of the tournament.

Pakistan achieved 237 runs off 44.5 overs with seven wickets lost. Sarfraz Ahmed is declared man of the match.

Sri Lanka’s total of 236 seemed like a reasonable chase at first, but with seven Pakistani batsmen in the dressing room at the 35 over mark, the match shaped up to be a nail-biter.

Perera claimed Fahim Ashraf’s wicket as a shot played by Sarfraz Ahmed flicked off Perera’s fingers and went on to hit the bowler’s stumps while Fahim’s bat was still in the air. With this wicket, Sri Lanka was looking more in control of the match.

Sarfraz Ahmed produced a superb captain's innings following a top-order collapse to see Pakistan into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Cardiff on Monday.

Pakistan, chasing a seemingly modest 237 to win, slumped to 162 for seven.

But Sarfraz's 61 not out and Mohammad Amir's 28 not out saw Pakistan home with 31 balls to spare after they shared an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 75.

Man-of-the-match Sarfraz, crucially dropped twice, ended the contest when he uppercut Lasith Malinga for four.

It was his fifth boundary in 79 balls and led the joyous wicket-keeper to run a semi-circle round the ground.

Pakistan will return to Sophia Gardens for a last-four clash with tournament hosts England in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Earlier, Pakistan induced a middle-order collapse as Sri Lanka slumped to 236 all out.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had to win on Monday to join already qualified title-holders India from Group B in the knockout stages of a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day international sides.
In what was a 'must-win match' for both sides, Sri Lanka were dismissed for 236 ─ well below the modern-day ODI 'par' total of 300.

And it seemed like it wasn't going to be their day when Pakistan opener Azhar Ali was dropped on nought by Asela Gunaratne at point.

But fellow opener Fakhar Zaman was far more dynamic, hitting three fours in as many balls off the unorthodox Malinga.

In just his second match at this level, the left-handed Fakhar completed a 34-ball fifty.

But, two balls later, he fell for exactly 50 when a top-edged hook off Nuwan Pradeep was caught by Gunaratne at fine leg.

Pakistan, then 92 for one, saw three wickets go down in a hurry.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez both fell to tame legside catches before Azhar's painstaking 34 ended when he fended at paceman Suranga Lakmal and Kusal Mendis held an awkward catch at a wide slip position.

Shoaib Malik (11) then feathered a catch behind following an attempted pull off Malinga.

Fahim Ashraf thrillingly hooked Malinga over long leg for six but the ODI debutant was run out for a run-a-ball 15 when bowler Thisara Perera deflected a Sarfraz drive onto the stumps at the non-striker's end

Sarfraz was now the key man but Sri Lanka dropped him on 38, when with Pakistan 194 for seven, Thisara Perera at mid-on floored the simplest of catches.

And he was missed again, on 40, when substitute Seekkuge Prasanna dropped a far more difficult chance running in from deep square leg.

In the end, Sri Lanka were made to pay for a poor batting display

arfraz played along with Mohammad Amir, as Perera and Malinga looked to claim the remaining wickets.

Pakistan would face England in the first semifinal on June 14, while India will play with Bangladesh in ICC Champions Trophy’s second semifinal on June 15.

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