Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017, Group B, Cardiff June 12, 2017

'Soft dismissals a concern' - Sarfraz

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Pakistan have little more than 36 hours before taking the field again in Cardiff for their Champions Trophy semi-final against England, but will find time to address concerns about their middle order despite the joy of overcoming Sri Lanka to progress to the knockout stage.

Fakhar Zaman's explosive entrance to the one-day side, with innings of 31 off 23 balls against South Africa followed by his 35-ball 50 against Sri Lanka, has helped overcome the sluggish starts which have plagued their batting, but there were a series of loose dismissals in the chase which left them needing a rescue mission of dramatic proportions from captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir in an unbroken stand of 75 in 15 overs.

"If you look at the game we started well but after Fakhar Zaman got out we lost the momentum and then most of our dismissals were soft which definitely is an area of concern for us," Sarfraz said. "We will sit tomorrow and talk about this and hopefully we will recover from this.

"After the way we started we could have finished this game with six or seven wickets in hand but those dismissals really dented us. We should have won by a good margin but a win is a win. Yes, we need to sit and talk about it and realise that if we a settled that we should take the game to the end rather than leaving it for the upcoming batsmen."

On his own innings, an unbeaten 61 off 79 balls, he admitted things went his way especially with the first dropped catch by Thisara Perera but was delighted to see the chase through. "I played the shot in the air, I just said, ooh...as a captain, it's very important innings for me. After this innings, I'm really boosted."

Before the tournament, Sarfraz spoke about how the team's No. 8 ODI ranking meant there were no expectations on them - which looked justified after the woeful performance against India, who they have a chance of meeting again in the final - but now they have a semi-final berth he sounded a little more bullish.

"Indeed it was very important for us as a team. Obviously nobody was rating us and they were writing us off, but once again I give all the credit to the team management for boosting us after the India game, especially our bowlers. The way Junaid [Khan] and Amir bowled was a turning point. I hope we can carry the momentum ahead and take a lot of confidence."

Sarfraz also promised his side would play "positive" cricket against England, the side they conceded the world record ODI total of 444 for 3 against at Trent Bridge last year. That one-day series ended in a 4-1 drubbing but the lone Pakistan victory did come in Cardiff as they chased down 303 in which Sarfraz made 90.

"We chased down 300-plus runs and that is a good memory," he said. "We have to play positive cricket as England have been playing positive cricket in the last two years. Obviously we have to play hard and we will try to replicate our last year performance to win them again in Cardiff. If you're playing a world class team you play more positive cricket. So will definitely do that against England."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Hameed Sheikh on June 14, 2017, 8:18 GMT

    Pakistan should play aggressive and positive play.Only then they can win.They should allow free play from Fakhar, Fahim and ask others like Azhar,Hafeez and Babar to play without fear.Shoaib can play properly if he intends to help Pakistan and does not listen to Indian Sania Mirza and co.For God sake play like a True Pakistani or Go to India for good.

  • anver777 on June 14, 2017, 5:51 GMT

    As Sarfraz said, PAK team have to improve their game for the crucial Semis !! I wish a PAK vs IND final and PAK clinches the trophy !! Good Luck Pakistan !!

  • AleemLatif on June 14, 2017, 1:35 GMT

    1) Fakhar, 2) Hafiz/Azhar, 3) Harris Sohail, 4) Babar, 5) Malik, 6) Sarfaraz, 7) Fahim, 8) Imad, 9) Amir, 10) Hasan Ali, 11) Junaid.

    No need for Shadab against England. Utilize Hafiz/Imad/Malik for spin options. But surely have Fahim as an ex-factor down the order.

  • ImranKhanDhanyal on June 13, 2017, 22:49 GMT

    Dear Sarfraz, no point in just talking about **positive cricket ** show it in the field, get rid of **negative** players like Hafeez.

  • HamzaSalman on June 13, 2017, 16:17 GMT

    @MURAD - if you watched the match yesterday, you'd have noticed slip fielder mid-innings stationed by the skipper trusting capabilities of his bowlers, and then his own aggressive pugnacious batting. What else do you want for it to be termed positive captaincy?

  •   Murad Sarwar on June 13, 2017, 15:10 GMT

    Sarfraz even don't know the meaning of positive and yet his every statement starts and end with it.

  • HamzaSalman on June 13, 2017, 14:44 GMT

    Pakistan pacers are in-form and Wahab is out. Crucially, the skipper is full of confidence as he is leading from the front. There are shades of WC '92 in the scheme of things as then England had peaked too early, and Pakistan peaked just at the right time.

  • cricfan2252442638 on June 13, 2017, 14:11 GMT

    Shadab in for Immad wasim Haris sohail in for hafeez or babar

  • Cricinfouser on June 13, 2017, 14:05 GMT

    only on of(Hafeez and azhar) should be included. Shadab has to come on his place..

  • LoveCric1975 on June 13, 2017, 13:50 GMT

    Pakistans only chance against eng is by being brave. Fortune favours the brave as proven by dropped chances of sarfraz yesterday. Azhar fakhar babar malik sarfraz faheem Imad shadab amir hasan junaid. Boldly drop hafeez and get the leggie in. After all eng are also going in with 3 quicks plus stokes and a leggie with moin chipping in with 5 overs.

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