At Cardiff, June 14. Pakistan won by eight wickets. Toss: Pakistan. One-day international debut: Rumman Raees.
Of all the days England could have chosen to revert to the tentative cricket that had once been their trademark, they chose the semi-final of the Champions Trophy. Pakistan, it's true, were superb: their bowling made a mockery of the old grumble about the boring middle overs, and their batsmen made a mockery of a target of 212. But England were unsettled by a used pitch - Pakistan had played on it two days earlier, winning a nail-biter against Sri Lanka - and were unable, perhaps even unwilling, to free their arms. A tally of 15 fours was their lowest in a completed innings since the 2015 World Cup; and, despite the beguiling proximity of the River Taff, they failed to hit a single six. So often England's heartbeat, Stokes batted as if he'd undergone a transplant, scoring 34 from 64 balls, and shouldering arms to deliveries he would normally have sent flying over fine leg; a quartet of twos was as extravagant as he got. In fact, the innings had begun reasonably enough.
Bairstow, finally replacing the out-of-nick Jason Roy, chanced his arm for 43, and at 128 for two in the 28th all seemed well. But Root was caught behind trying to cut leg-spinner Shadab Khan, and Morgan - having passed 5,000 one-day runs for England - tried to charge Hasan Ali, who was reversing it away from the left-handers from round the wicket. Paralysis struck, and Pakistan were on a roll, confirmed by Fakhar Zaman's leaping catch at deep backward square to intercept Moeen Ali's pull. In total, eight fell for 83, and the last 25 overs produced just 93. A sluggish pitch encouraged England to believe all was not lost, but the freewheeling Fakhar set the tone by topedging Wood for six in the first over, and the bowlers sacrificed accuracy in search of magic. By the time Fakhar was stumped for 57, heaving at a Rashid googly, Pakistan's opening pair had put on 118. Azhar Ali dragged on against Ball for 76, but it was already game over. Gloriously, Pakistan were in the final. Gallingly, England had not shown up.
Man of the Match: Hasan Ali.