Azhar Ali
Azhar struck successive fifties to fire Pakistan to success. Getty Images


  • Tournament favourites dumped out after eight-wicket defeat in Cardiff.
  • India and Bangladesh compete in second semi-final on Thursday [15 June].

Pakistan outclassed England to reach their maiden Champions Trophy final after a record-equalling eight-wicket win in Cardiff. After bowling the pre-tournament favourites out for just 211, the 1992 50-over world champions sauntered to the target without alarm as Azhar Ali struck 76 to help inspire his side to victory with over 12 overs remaining.

England were progressing nicely at 128 for 2, but lost five wickets for just 53 runs as their attempts to set a competitive total fell apart during a pedestrian innings. Joe Root top scored with 46 but the middle and lower order failed to fire when it mattered as the pressure told, with Hasan Ali the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 35.

Having allowed nerves to almost get the better of them against Sri Lanka in the group stage, Pakistan powered their way into their first major ICC final for 10 years with a batting display in stark contrast to their opponents. Faker Zaman hit 57 from 58 balls before Azhar made his second consecutive half century to guide his team to victory.

India and Bangladesh will compete to complete the all-sub continent final at The Oval when in the second semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday [15 June]. But both teams will struggle to match the dominance enjoyed by Pakistan who produced one of the shocks of the competition after ousting the in-form hosts.

Joe Root
Root top scored for England but his dismissal triggers a collapse. Getty Images

Having kept fait with Jason Roy for the group stage, England rolled the dice and selected Jonny Barstow ahead of the out-of-form Surrey opener as the knock-out phase began in earnest. Good fortune remained with the Yorkshireman as he escaped a review from the second ball of the match as the home side were put in to bat on a Cardiff pitch which had proven tricky to score on.

Alex Hales also benefited from a review after he questioned being given out lbw in the fourth over as debutant Rumman Raees - who had replaced the injured Mohammad Amir - caused problems. Raees did however have his maiden one-day wicket when Hales [13] chopped on to his stumps.

Pakistan initially failed to make the pressure pay as Azhar shelled a catch off Bairstow before he survived again when Babar Azam couldn't react quickly enough at slip. Three balls later Bairstow [43] did depart as he pulled wretchedly to Mohammad Hafeez.

Hasan Ali
Hasan took three wickets as England's middle-order crumbled. Getty Images

More poor Pakistan catching saw Eoin Morgan dropped by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on the way to finding the boundary, but by now the England scoring had dried up as the visitors' seam attack began to dominate. Root was then forced to go on the offensive when spin was introduced and that contributed to his downfall as he edged Shadab Khan behind.

The breakthrough sparked a pitiful collapse, not yielded through a characteristic attacking approach but as England attempted to fend off Pakistan's spirited attack. Morgan [33], Jos Buttler [4], Moeen Ali[ 11] - via a fine catch from Fakhar Zaman - and Adil Rashid [7] followed in quick succession as the innings fell apart.

England were eventually skittled out for just 211, a total some way departed from their pre-match expectations as they struck the fewest boundaries since their ignominious performance at the 2015 World Cup. Early wickets were needed to tap into Pakistan's undoubted nerves, but a lack of guile and threat ensured the run-chase began in routine fashion.

Pakistan cricket fans
Pakistan's fans were in full voice as they watched their team reach a first major final for 10 years. Getty Images

Azhar and Fakhar put on the first Pakistan century partnership for the first wicket for two years to ease any fears the tension which gripped the team against Sri Lanka two days previous would return. Pakistan's openers instead showed an attacking intent which had been absent from their opponents' display as the swept closer to victory.

Fakhar was stumped by Buttler but any fears the breakthrough would spark a collapse were quickly ended when Azhar continued on his merry way. Babar [38 not out] took few risks and helped put on fifty for the second wicket though Azhar was denied a fourth ODI century when he played on off Jake Ball, attempting an ambitious hook.

England's final chance came and went when Buttler missed stumping Mohammad Hafeez [31 not out] and a handful of hefty blows, including a huge six down the ground off Ben Stokes, confirmed the victory for Pakistan much to the delight of their passionate support.