Mercoledì, 23 Agosto, 2017

Morgan unbowed as befuddled England fluff their lines

Pakistan fans credited for'home advantage ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Pakistan embraced their drab yet effective identity to achieve success
Pammachio Corsino | 19 Giugno, 2017, 04:36

Barney Ronay of The Guardian says it was a return to the bad old days: "For all the talk of adrenal new eras and white-hot modernity it was the old uncertainty batting first against nagging bowling on a grippy pitch that derailed England's campaign against a Pakistan team who produced a wonderful all-round performance".

If this becomes a trend, England will start to develop a reputation, but I believe we are some way from that.

Speaking to Press Association Sport while taking part in the final leg of broadcaster Jeff Stelling's March for Men for Prostate Cancer UK, Collingwood reflected on England's disappointing Champions Trophy exit, but insisted they came up against opponents at the top of their game and are good enough to fare much better in their home World Cup in two years' time.

Pakistan's bowlers, backed up their captains - Sarfraz Ahmed's - decision to bowl first by troubling the hosts from the onset with an impeccable line and a sharp fielding effort. "Most of this squad will still be around and the England hierarchy will want Morgan to remain in the job, even if Joe Root is about to take over as Test captain".

Having been 128 for two, they lost their last eight wickets for 83 runs as they slumped to a lowly 211 all out.

A knock of 43 by opener Jonny Bairstow, recalled in place of the axed Jason Roy, was added to by Root and Morgan, who struck 33, although Ben Stokes's 34 was the only other meaningful contribution. It is something they appreciate more than most after a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore turned Pakistan into a "no-go area" for the world's top teams, with the United Arab Emirates now their adopted 'home'. And they did so in style, despite being without injured left-arm quick Mohammad Amir because of a back spasm.

"I don't think there was any home advantage, if that's what you're asking. We knew that coming into the tournament", Morgan said of the pitch.


Pakistan bowled England out for just 211, in an era where 300 is considered a one-day global "par score", after captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and fielded.

Unlike their Pakistan counterparts, England's bowlers struggled to adapt to the conditions and were too often short and wide, allowing easy runs to be picked up. Whenever he comes, he gets wickets. Ali was complimented well by Juniad Khan and debutant Rumman Raees, who chipped in with two wickets each.

Set just 212 to win, Pakistan finished on 215-2. Azhar Ali smashed Stokes for another six and a four in the 13th over as Pakistan moved to 78-0.

Four members of Pakistan's XI on Wednesday - Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Rumman Raees - have never played an worldwide match in their own country, and a one-off limited overs series against Zimbabwe in 2015 has been the only taste of home internationals for Azhar, Babar Azam, Imad Wasim and Junaid Khan. He is No. 7 in the ICC all-rounder rankings but had an all-round miserable game. After that, no wickets fell with Mohammad Azam and Mohammad Hafeez scored 38 and 31 runs.

Three consecutive wins, including an incredible semi-final victory over hosts and favourites England, meant Pakistan became the first team to qualify for the title clash.

They were cruising before a mid-innings collapse derailed the chase.

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