England Favourites To Get Past Pakistan

Champions Trophy Preview: England Favourites To Get Past Pakistan

2017-06-13
Preview of Wednesday’s Champions Trophy semi-final in Cardiff.

England are 9/25 to reach the ICC Champions Trophy final as they prepare to face Pakistan in the first semi-final in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Pakistan progressed to the last four on Monday after claiming a nail-biting three-wicket win against Sri Lanka at Cardiff Wales Stadium, with captain Sarfraz Ahmed undefeated on 61 as he compiled an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 75 with Mohammad Amir to see his team home.

When they slumped from 92 for one to 137 for six in pursuit of 237 for victory, Pakistan looked down and out but Sarfraz - despite being dropped twice - ensured a return to the Welsh capital in under 48 hours' time as Pool B reached a thrilling conclusion.

They will go into the semi-final as the 11/5 underdogs but have been cut to 5/1 to win the tournament, with England available at 27/20.

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Sarfraz knows Pakistan’s batting must improve if they are to cause an upset against England but is delighted with the way his bowlers are performing.

Speaking after the Sri Lanka game, he said: “I think it's a great win and credit goes to the bowlers, who bowled really well at a crucial time. Yes, there is a little bit of concern about the middle order batting but we will sort out the problems.

“England is a very good team, a very, very good team. They've been playing really good cricket for the last two years. If you are playing a world-class team, definitely, you play more positive cricket against England. So definitely, we will do so against England more positively.”

England's campaign has gone as well as expected with group-stage wins over Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia.

The one blot on the copybook has been the form of opener Jason Roy, who has scored just 18 runs in three innings, continuing a poor start to the summer which has seen him register a top score of 20 against Ireland in May.

He could lose his place to Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow, who is 9/2 to top score for England, 7/1 to be the leading scorer in the match and 12/1 to be named man of the match.