The first semifinal fixture of Champions Trophy. England and Pakistan are getting ready for the high voltage showdown at Cardiff. It is the knockout stage, the launch pad to final schedule. Pakistan being the eighth team on ODI lists has reached considerable feats defeating the likes of South Africa, the top on charts. England, on the other hand, is the first team to cruise into the semifinal remaining unbeaten in the tournament so far.
Pakistan has only one occasion to lament, the defeat against India, England has none. The win against South Africa had some backups from rain playing the invisible hand behind Pakistan’s win. The Sri Lanka victory was of more credits. In the last match of the league phase Pakistan banked on Pakistan’s and those fielding odds off Sri Lanka.
England has been consistent. Apart from Jason Roy, who is a bit out of phase, the squad is with a formidable form. They too had bowling as well as batting odds, but every time the team made a stronger comeback. Bairstow, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid came up as emerging bets for the home team. England and Pakistan has faced off 25 years earlier and it has been one on one for them.
Still, England is behind India as favorites and Pakistan, somehow, is not on spotlight. However, this season has seen more than just ups and downs. While teams like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are back home, Pakistan and Bangladesh rose from ashes. Thus, it is only the play that will decide the winner, not speculations.
The English weather finally opened up and there is no rain forecast. Stroke play might bring a good prospect. It is same pitch where Pakistan ran over Sri Lanka in the previous fixture. In ODI, England won 12 off last 14 matches against Pakistan. However, in the last fixture, Pakistan beat England in 2016, backed with Sarfraz Ahmed. More importantly, it was on the same pitch at Cardiff. Still, Eion Morgan have no worries believing the team is at a good position this time. Skipper Sarfraz is cautions. And this is what that makes him win.
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