A more balanced host team have edge over unpredictable Pakistan in first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy
England captain Eoin Morgan during nets ahead of their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final match against Pakistan in Cardiff yesterday. Pics/Getty Images, AFP
England will fancy their chances of extending the search for an elusive major global ODI silverware despite drawing a mercurial Pakistan in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy here today.
In Eoin Morgan's well-balanced unit, the world sees a chance for England to realise their dream. Notwithstanding Pakistan's remarkable turnaround after a embarrassing loss to arch-rivals India in their tournament opener in Birmingham, hosts England will take to the field at Sophia Gardens with their nose ahead.
In Ben Stokes, they have one of the world's best all-rounder, who can inflict damage on the opposition with both bat and ball.
Joe Root is a world-class batsman and is the fulcrum around whom the England batting revolves. Morgan and Jos Buttler complete the middle order, while openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy have the ability to be devastating at the top. Roy, though, has not been in the best of form and could be replaced by Jonny Bairstow for the last-four clash.
Even as Sarfraz Ahmed's unpredictable Pakistan stand between them and a second straight Champions Trophy final appearance, England will fancy their chances.
Pakistan will be boosted by Sarfraz's match-winning knock in the team's three-wicket win over Sri Lanka, which put them into the semis.The green shirts are also excited about the explosive entry of opener Fakhar Zaman, who slammed 50 off 36 balls against the Sri Lankans.
Champions Trophy, England vs Pakistan: Star Sports 1, 1 HD, Hindi 1, 15:00
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