June 15, 2017

Zaman, Ali help Pakistan storm into Champion's Trophy final

ESPNcricinfo staff
The duo recorded the highest ever opening stand for Pakistan in the history of Champions Trophy.

Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali, backed up their bowlers, with a 118-run opening stand that helped Pakistan comfortably outclass hosts England, by eight wickets, with nearly 13 overs to spare, to book their berth in the Final of the Champion's Trophy slated to take place at the Oval on June 18.

Pakistan's bowlers, backed up their captains - Sarfraz Ahmed's - decision to bowl first by troubling the hosts from the onset with an impeccable line and a sharp fielding effort. The display restricted a strong England batting unit to just 211 in their innings. England needed wickets early to make a contest, but there were none forthcoming as openers, Ali and Zaman, stood firm with a solid 118-run effort.

Pakistan required just 4.23 from the onset to upset the hosts and Zaman made his intentions clear in the first over of the chase by hitting James Ball for a six. Zaman played aggressor in the first ten overs, with three fours and a six, while Ali managed just one four. But given the below-par target, all Pakistan required was a solid start. Zaman finally fell in the 22nd over for a 58-ball 57, punctuated by seven fours and a six. Ali followed ten-overs later for a classy 76. The duo scored at a rate 5.57 runs in the 21.1 overs that they batted together. The partnership put Pakistan on course for an impressive victory.

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