ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Results: Pakistan Beats Sri Lanka, Advances

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 12, 2017

CARDIFF, WALES - JUNE 12:  Sarfraz Ahmed (R) of Pakistan celebrates with Mohammad Amir (L) after hitting the winning runs and victory by 3 wickets during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the SWALEC Stadium on June 12, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Pakistan will face England in the semi-finals of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy after they defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Monday. 

Sarfraz Ahmed sent his side into the last four of the tournament after helping piece together a big comeback for Pakistan, who were chasing down a rather feeble-looking Sri Lanka score of 236.

Neither team was perfect on the day, with Sri Lanka setting too modest a target considering the competition they faced, although Pakistan will consider this a performance to build from, too, as they chase the finished product.

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.

Read on for a recap of Monday's entertainment, complete with a preview of the upcoming semi-final slate.

Visit ESPNcricinfo.com for more details on Monday's result and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan

Pakistan (Ahmed 61, Pradeep 3/60) bt. Sri Lanka (Dickwella 73, Khan 3/40) by three wickets.

Monday's meeting pitted two of cricket's heavyweights against one another in search of the last semi-final place, and although it produced great entertainment, it was, in some ways, for the wrong reasons.

Niroshan Dickwella's 73 off 86 balls was Sri Lanka's highest individual score by some distance, and commentator Harsha Bhogle commented on their lack of big batting figures aside from him and Angelo Mathews:

Unfortunately for them, both batsmen were out by the time they reached 162 runs, and the second half of the order proved inconsistent by comparison, adding only another 70 runs or so more following their exit.

A successful Pakistani chase was on the cards by all accounts, a campaign that was boosted by the form of their early openers, with Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman combining for 84 runs at one and two in the order.

Tensions did rise for Pakistan when Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Ali all fell within 18 runs of one another, and coach Mickey Arthur's side hit a mid-match lull in tempo that threatened to throw off their pursuit.

Ahmed arose at the right time, though, and combined late on with bowler Mohammad Amir, who drew great praise for his unbeaten 28 from ex-India international Sanjay Manjrekar:

Sri Lanka were also to blame for their own inability to finish the game, however, and Ahmed got off easy when Lasith Malinga's bowl coaxed him into an error, only for his fielders to drop the begging chance.

And that was a particular error they would come to regret as Ahmed and Co edged nearer to the win they needed to qualify, sealing the deal with a four from their captain that Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, took note of:

Former India international Mohammad Kaif spotted weakness in Sri Lanka before praising the victors, however, seemingly unimpressed with the fielding display he just watched:

Pakistan have now beaten Sri Lanka in 10 of the 11 matches they've played against one another in ICC One-Day International tournaments, and it's little wonder when the latter crumbles such as they did on Monday.

England promise to pose a stiff challenge for Pakistan, particularly on home soil, and both teams have only two days' rest before they return to the action at Sophia Gardens.