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Pakistan clash with Sri Lanka in race to semi-final

CARDIFF: Subcontinental titans Pakistan and Sri Lanka face off in Monday’s must-win Champions Trophy group match after producing two of the tournament’s biggest upsets so far.

The winner of the match would face England in the semifinals while the losing team would be knocked out of the tournament.

Pakistan bounced back to beat top-ranked South Africa by 19 runs on Wednesday at Edgbaston, after suffering a heavy defeat to India at the same venue days earlier.

Sri Lanka upset India at The Oval with a stunning seven-wicket win after losing their opening match to South Africa earlier in the tournament.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, speaking to media ahead of the big game, said: “We had a good bowling meeting. We took wickets. If you take wickets, every good team feels under pressure.”

The Green Shirts were also inspired by playing in front of a partisan crowd, something they have rarely enjoyed in the recent past.

“That is a feeling we miss, not playing in Pakistan,” said Sarfraz. “Maybe that was a difference, the crowd was supporting us and that’s why the players were boosted.”

“It’s one of the top wins, to beat India,” said Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews. “The bowlers did brilliantly to restrict India to 321. It was a very chaseable target.

“Not many people expected us to win and that took a lot of pressure off us.”

Pakistan do have some recent knowledge of the ground having beaten England there by four wickets in a one-day international last year.

Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim starred with both bat and ball in that Cardiff clash and he will hope for more success upon on his return ‘home’ — he was born in the nearby town of Swansea.

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