ICC in Cardiff tickets plea amid fear of India 'no-shows'

Pakistan registered an emphatic 8-wicket victory against England in the first semi-finals to storm into the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 here on Wednesday (June 14). Although England seem a highly settled unit with its balance of excellent all-rounders, dynamic batsmen and deadly bowlers, Pakistan have time and again proved to be the most unpredictable team in the game of cricket.

The same England batsmen, who batted with flair and finesse through the tournament, came a cropper in a high stake semifinal.

Ben Stokes, usually one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, needed 64 balls to scrape together 34 runs and he failed to muster a single boundary on a pitch Morgan described as hard to bat on. Despite, missing out on Chris Woakes, they still look all bases covered, courtesy the all-round ability of Stokes.

Two years ago in the World Cup, they beat and finished above England in their group to reach the quarter-finals, where they lost to Thursday's opponents India. Adil Rashid was back in the hut after a direct hit from substitute Ahmed Shehzad at the non-striker's end.

From being mediocre against India, they displayed tremendous ruthlessness against the No. 1 ODI team, South Africa.They continued the winning streak against Sri Lanka, despite losing 7 wickets while chasing a mediocre score. Fakhar Zaman could be the only bright spark for Pakistan at the top of the order while skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has the ability to thrive under pressure situations.

Steady progress enabled Bangladesh to win the ICC Trophy in 1997 and two years later they played in the full World Cup where they pulled off a famous victory over Pakistan.

They are excited about the explosive entry of opener Fakhar Zaman, who slammed 50 off 36 balls against the Sri Lankans.

Notwithstanding Pakistan's remarkable turnaround, after an embarrassing loss to India in Birmingham, England will take to the field at Sophia Gardens with its nose ahead.

This will be the first time England Pakistan play each other in the history of the Champions Trophy.

England: 1. Alex Hales, 2. "They took Joe Root". If that happens, Pakistan will become 2nd team to lose 50 ODIs against England after Australia (52). That curtailed Ben Stokes' freedom and England limped to 212 all out, from 49.5 overs.

Still young in his global career, Hasan Ali has already shown that he could potentially be an asset to the Pakistan side for years to come. Liam Plunkett, 10. Mark Wood, 11. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez then completed the formalities against a dispirited attack.

"Shadab Khan has that bit of mystery - he can spin it both ways, and we've seen traditionally in this type of cricket, legspinners can do well - but on this ground, Hafeez, who is an orthodox offspinner, could have been targeted".