‘Will have to play positive cricket against England’ — Sarfraz

Pakistan, South Africa

After yesterday’s thrilling three-wicket win over Sri Lanka, Pakistan have a little more than 15 hours before they take the field again in Cardiff for their Champions Trophy semi-final clash against tournament hosts and favorites England. Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who forged a record-breaking stand of 75 with Mohammad Amir to take his team to the semi-finals, has made it clear that his team will try to play “positive” cricket against England and repeat their last year’s Cardiff victory — their only win in a recent 4-1 drubbing in England — where they chased 303.

“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.”

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Pakistan started off their pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 236 in a promising manner, with Fakhar Zaman scoring a blazing half-century to propel his team to 74 for 1 in just 11.2 overs. However, a yet another middle order collapse saw them lose their position of strength in the space of mere overs, with Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam and Imad Wasim all failing to make an impact on proceedings. Sarfraz rued soft dismissals despite a good start and said he will find time to address concerns about their middle order before the semis.

“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.

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“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.”

He also admitted that he was given a reprieve several times, especially after Thisara Perera dropped a sitter, but said he 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.”

“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.” he said.

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