Pakistan will lock horns with England in the first semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff today (Wednesday).
Pakistan will be boosted by Sarfraz s match-winning knock in the team s three-wicket win over Sri Lanka, which put them into the semis.
That they managed to hold their own in a match where there was quite a few twists and turns, should boost Pakistan s morale.
The green shirts are also excited about the explosive entry of opener Fakhar Zaman, who slammed 50 off 36 balls against the Sri Lankans. Another round of enterprise at the top by the new man would do Pakistan a world of good.While the middle order batting remains a concern, Sarfraz said Pakistan will address it so that the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik click when the situation demands.
England boast the best ODI record among all teams in the calendar year, but Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed remains hopeful that the team s “high confidence” in Cardiff will stand them in good stead when they return to the Welsh capital to face England.
“England is a very good team, a very, very good team,” said Sarfraz of the tournament hosts. “If you are playing a world-class team, definitely, you play more positive cricket, so we will do so against England,” he added.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur added that his side would not settle for simply reaching the semis as he urged them to go “one step further”.
“We certainly didn t want to be just making up the numbers in this competition, and we ve shown that we weren t,” said the South African. “Now we need to go one step further and never be satisfied.
The last thing I want is for us to go away now thinking that we got to a semi-final, we re okay, we ve achieved, because that would be a cop-out in my mind.”
“We ve got nothing to lose, yes, but we ve always said we re in it to win it. We know that realistically England are playing unbelievably well. They re a really, really good one-day unit with no apparent weaknesses.”
Sarfraz s opposite number Eoin Morgan hinted that there may a change to his side s top order for the match after Jason Roy disappointing outings.
Morgan said there was a “chance” Jonny Bairstow could replace the struggling Jason Roy and insisted he would have “no worries” about Bairstow opening — something he has yet to do in international cricket.
Morgan would not confirm his XI at Tuesday s pre-match press conference in Cardiff but said there was “a chance we could make a change”.
Surrey opener Roy averaged just 6.37 from eight ODI innings this season, with a mere two double-figure scores and has lost seemingly lost the backing of his captain.