Pakistan striving for consistency against England

Risky singles must only be taken when the asking rate is quite high or when the situation calls for a run.

However, if Pakistan are found guilty on similar grounds in their match against England, Sarfraz Ahmed will be handed a one-match suspension, which would rule him out of the finals of the Champions Trophy if Pakistan defeat the hosts to seal a spot in the final.

By beating Sri Lanka, Pakistan became the fourth and final team to advance to the semis of this year's competition, with Bangladesh set to clash against India in the other fixture.

After Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and made a decision to bowl first, Sri Lanka lost their first wicket for 25 runs on the board before Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis (27) added 56 runs for the second wicket.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 236 in 49.2 overs (Niroshan Dickwella 73, Angelo Mathews 39; Junaid Khan 3-40, Hasan Ali 3-43) vs Pakistan.

After being put in to bat, Sri Lanka's openers made a confident start, initially easing along at nearly six runs an over during a spell highlighted by Dickwella walking across his stumps and flicking an audacious scoop shot off Junaid Khan way over Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz's head which nearly carried for six.

Debutant pacer Faheem Ashraf got his first ODI wicket in his third over when he clean bowled Dinesh Chandimal for nought.

Eoin Morgan's men appear poised to bring Jonny Bairstow in at the top of the order for the woefully out-of-form Jason Roy, and their old adversary Arthur did not miss his cue to muddy the waters in Cardiff.

Sri Lankan seamers, led by Nuwan Pradeep (three for 60), produced a disciplined bowling performance but some sloppy fielding, which included two drop catches of Sarfraz, cost them the match. Credit should go to Pakistan. According to Sarfraz, the team is capable of giving positive results and the young players need backing of everyone back home.

"They are playing some good cricket and have changed tremendously since the 2015 World Cup, so we have to be at our best to beat them and reach the final", said Sarfraz.

All-rounder Mathews, fresh from an unbeaten fifty in Sri Lanka's shock seven-wicket victory over India, drove off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez for six, while Dickwella ended a sequence of 54 balls without a boundary by cover-driving left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for four.

In what turned out to be a brilliant all-round match for wicket-keeper Sarfraz, he held a superb low one-handed catch to dismiss Dickwella after the batsman got an inside edge to Amir.

Kusal Mendis looked fluent during his 29-ball 27 before he was done in by the two-card Hasan Ali trick. UMPIRES: B.N.J. Oxenford (Australia) and M. Erasmus (South Africa).

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