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Middle order a concern but Sarfraz promises positive cricket

CricketMiddle order a concern but Sarfraz promises positive cricket

CARDIFF: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed says his team is feeling more positive and confident than ever ahead of the ICC Champions Trophysemifinal against England despite concerns about its fragile middle order.

Sarfraz played a stellar role in Pakistan’s three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in a virtual quarterfinal, which yet again exemplified their unpredictable side, before managing to scrape through.

At 137 for six chasing 237, Pakistan again found themselves in a similar territory and if not for Sarfraz and Fakhar Zaman’s enterprise — coupled with assistance from butterfingered Sri Lankans –, the green shirts’ campaign would have been over.

CARDIFF, WALES - JUNE 12: Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan celebrates victory during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at SWALEC Stadium on June 12, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Harry Trump-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 12: Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan celebrates victory during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at SWALEC Stadium on June 12, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Harry Trump-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Sarfraz thanked the almighty before opening up at the post-match press conference at Sophia Gardens.

“I think it’s a great win today, and credit goes to the bowlers. They bowled really well at a crucial time. We took wickets and upped the batting order.

“Especially Fakhar Zaman, he played really well. Yeah, a little bit concern about the middle order batting. Definitely we’re sitting down tomorrow, and we’ll sort out the problems,” the captain said.

Zaman smashed 50 off 36 balls.

Considering that they are up against a side that is miles ahead of Sri Lanka in terms of both quality and form, Sarfraz said playing positive cricket will hold the key.

“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’re playing a world class team, definitely, you play more positive cricket against England. So definitely, we will play against England more positively.”

England drubbed Pakistan 4-1 in a one-day series and the lone victory came at the Sophia Gardens, where they chased down a 300-plus total days after conceding a ODI world record 444 for three at Trent Bridge.

“Yeah, we played against them here. Last time we played almost full series. We played last ODI here. We won that time, we chased 300, so definitely our confidence is very high playing in Cardiff. We chased down 300-plus runs and that is a good memory,” he said.

Regarding his own innings, a 61 off 79 balls, Sarfraz said he was delighted to see his team through.
“Yes. Definitely, as a captain, it’s a very important innings for me. After this innings, I’m really boosted up, and hopefully, we will do well in the future.”
Asked what was going through his mind when he saw the ball lobbing straight into Thisara Perera’s hands at mid-on, Sarfraz said, “You know, that time I didn’t see the hand of (Lasith) Malinga, and when I played the shot in the air, I just said, ooh. But thanks to Allah — you know, thanks to Allah today. Allah helped us a lot today.”

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