ICC Champions trophy : Ben Stokes picks fight with Imad Wasim during match

ICC Champions trophy : Ben Stokes picks fight with Imad Wasim during match

An unpredictable Pakistan on Wednesday stunned England by eight wickets to enter their maiden Champions Trophy final, continuing their sensational run in the tournament.

India and Bangladesh will face each other in the other semi-final.

Openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman hit 76 and 57 respectively, while Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez guided Pakistan home inside 38 overs. Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had no qualms about the pitch and was more than happy at his team's progression towards their first final at a major ODI event since 1999 World Cup.

But within touching distance of a first global 50-over title after three victories in the group stage, they crumbled limply to 211 all out and the bowlers failed to fire as Pakistan strolled to their target with almost 13 overs to spare.

"Sarfaraz needs to be told that he hasn't done anything special at all as Pakistan was forced to win the games by someone", he added. Their "policy of proscribed aggression - the that's-just-the-way-I-play dictum - looked confusedly single-gear in Cardiff".

"It's a big challenge jumping from venue to venue but we're going to have to do that with the World Cup so it's important for us to go through games like today (Wednesday) for our experience".

"Pakistan did that extremely well and full credit to them".

"Full credit to them, they outplayed us on this wicket".

"I don't think there was any home advantage", said Morgan. We did prepare like we were going to play on a used wicket. We didn't adjust and 200 isn't competitive. Two hundred isn't a competitive score.

A crestfallen Joe Root admitted England blew a "golden chance" to convert two years of one-day progress into a trophy with their Champions Trophy semi-final defeat to Pakistan but insisted the disappointment must not see them alter from their current course.

The problems for Eoin Morgan's men began the day before this match.

"It's the way the tournament is".

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"We certainly weren't over-confident", Morgan said.

"It's the test of the Champions Trophy".

Q. You touched on conditions.

The skipper added: "I was not expecting we would bowl them out for 210".

"Yes, we are playing in the semifinal and it is a pressure game".

"It's very frustrating but if we're being brutally honest, we weren't at our best and I think it would be wrong to hide behind excuses", Root said.

On the prospect of a rematch with India in the final, Sarfraz smiled and said: "Best of luck to both of them". England lost their last eight wickets for just 83 runs. "Zaman gave the team a brilliant start to the chase and he was well supported by Azhar's assured batting display".

Their opposite number Bairstow - brought in to open for the first time in global cricket in place of the out-of-form Jason Roy - had responded with a battling 43, but on a used pitch that precluded fluent strokeplay as the ball swung too, England could never get a foothold and folded tamely in their attempt to set a defendable total.

However, England coach, Trevor Bayliss echoed Morgan's sentiment that the direction of travel remained positive. "It is just one of those areas where we've got to improve at".

However, the counter to that is fielding first means you don't have to worry about calculating what a good score might be. Most teams have tried to swing the ball up front, and when it hasn't they have struggled to take wickets in the middle overs.

A number of valid issues were raised about the pitch in the aftermath but make no mistake, it was the Pakistan attack who did the damage to England and deservedly take their place in the final.

"I think he (Amir) has a little bit of back spasm".

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