June 13 (TNS): Star turn The papare that was slowly building was meant to raise the Sri Lankan team’s spirits. Funnily enough, it also raised Pakistan’s. In Cardiff, dancing to the tune of the bugles and the drums, were the ghosts of collapses past and putting them all to bed with bat in his hand was… Mohammad Amir, According to ESPN.
He had spent much of the day either whooping in delight at all the wickets his colleagues took or howling with disgust at all the shots his batsmen played. A chase of 237 with a required run-rate of 4.74 should not have come down to the No. 9 batsman. And yet it did, after the No. 9 batsman had bowled so brilliantly. Pakistan was the errant child on its first day of kindergarten, throwing a tantrum so mummy wouldn’t leave.
So Amir, hiding his exasperation, fronted up to toe crushers and rib tickers from Lasith Malinga and strung a half-century partnership with his captain Sarfraz Ahmed. Simultaneously, Pakistan, the lowest ranked team in the Champions Trophy, rose from 162 for 7 to clinch the last semi-final spot.
The wow moment
It is well known that Amir can make the ball trace horse-shoe shapes given any help from conditions. But the pitches in this tournament have given the bowlers nothing. So when Sri Lanka were 161 for 3 after 31 overs with one of their gun players Angelo Mathews at the crease and finding his range, Pakistan were at the point of no return. So they turned to their spearhead for some magic. Amir ran in, his cockles up and his pace searing. Mathews took strike, the short boundaries calling to him like sirens. But all that transpired was an inside edge onto the stumps. That left Sri Lanka at 161 for 4, they would soon become 167 for 7, then they would lose.
Stats that matter
- Amir took his first wicket of Champions Trophy 2017 on Monday.
- The 75-run partnership between Amir and Sarfraz was the highest for the eighth wicket in the tournament’s history.
What they said about
“He has actually looked a lot more solid [with the bat] than his captain”
Commentator Sourav Ganguly gives his two cents
“I felt a little pressure, but Amir was playing confidently and that helped me”
A grateful captain Sarfraz Ahmed gives his thanks to one of his match-winners