Pakistan cruised to the ICC Champions Trophy final after thrashing hosts England by eight wickets in the first semi-final at the Sophia Gardens here on Wednesday.
Chasing a below-par 212, the Green Brigade rode on a brilliant 118-run opening stand between Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) before Babar Azam (38 not out) and Ali helped the team with a 55-run second-wicket stand to set their date with the winner of the second semi-final between India and Bangladesh, on Sunday.
After bowling the hosts out for 211, thanks to pacer Hasan Ali’s 3/35, the Pakistani opening duo of Ali and Zaman made light work of the English bowlers as the visitors crossed the 50-run mark at the end of the mandatory powerplay.
The 27-year-old Zaman was the more destructive of the two, bringing up his second consecutive fifty off 49 balls, laced with six boundaries and a six off a bouncer from pacer Mark Wood in the very first over of the innings.
It seemed the Pakistan batsmen were in a hurry to get to the total as the duo helped the team touch the three-figure mark in the next seven overs before Ali too got to his half century off 68 deliveries.