Pakistan’s Hasan Ali celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Eoin Morgan at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW COULDRIDGE
Pakistan’s Hasan Ali celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Eoin Morgan at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW COULDRIDGE

Cardiff — Pakistan booked their place in the Champions Trophy final with a crushing eight-wicket win over England on Wednesday. Set just 212 to win, Pakistan finished on 215/2.

Pakistan will now face title-holders India in Sunday’s final at The Oval if their arch-rivals beat Bangladesh in Thursday’s second semifinal at Edgbaston.

Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) all but ended previously unbeaten hosts England’s slim hopes of victory with an opening stand of 118.

But the real damage was done when England collapsed to 211 all out after Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed sent them in to bat on a used pitch.

Paceman Hasan Ali led the attack with a superb return of 3/35 from his 10 overs.

Pakistan’s openers then compounded England’s misery to the delight of their supporters at a sun-drenched Cardiff.

Left-hander Fakhar hit a six — something England didn’t manage in their entire innings — when a top-edge off fast bowler Mark Wood flew safe.

The dashing Fakhar completed a 49-ball fifty to follow his 50 against Sri Lanka. Azhar followed him to the landmark in 68 balls.

Pakistan completed Wed-nesday’s pursuit with a mammoth 77 balls to spare when Mohammad Hafeez pulled Ben Stokes for four.

England did avoid a 10-wicket defeat when Jos Buttler stumped Fakhar off leg-spinner Adil Rashid and Azhar too fell before the finish, pulling Jake Ball into his stumps.

But Pakistan had the game all but won at 173/2.

AFP

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