Pakistan edged out England by three wickets in the seventh and final round of league matches to take second position in the points table at the end of the preliminary rounds of the Over-50 World Cup Cricket Tournament 2018 which concluded in Sydney on Sunday.
Both Pakistan and England, having already qualified among the top four sides before their league encounter, will be in action against each other again as they clash in the semifinals at the Rosedale Oval on Monday (today).
Hosts Australia, who topped the points table at the end of the preliminary rounds, will be pitted against fourth placed New Zealand in the other semifinal, also to be played today, at the Hurstville Oval.
With the last league match of an academic interest, Pakistan opted to rest three of their prolific players, skipper Ghulam Ali, Sajid Ali and Shahid Anwar, and England also did likewise. Pakistan was captained by Ghaffar Kazmi.
Batting first, England was bowled out for 137 in 44.5 overs with Mel Hussein (35), Neil Brathwaite (22) and Scott Scratton (19) being their leading scorers as the innings was rocked by leg-spinner Zafar Ali, who captured four wickets for 17 runs off 6.5 overs.
Asif Hayat delivered a tight spell of eight overs, returning the figures of two for 25 while Asim Jah, Amir Tauseef and Javed Hafeez were the other wicket-takers for Pakistan.
England fought back gallantly while defending what looked a modest score and it became a tense battle when Pakistan, chasing a target of 138 in 45 overs, lost their seventh wicket before raising 100 of their innings.
Sagheer Abbas, who was adjudged Man of the Match, kept his cool in the trying conditions to finish with an unbeaten 35 off 62 balls which got Pakistan over the line. He was ably assisted by Javed Hafeez who remained undefeated on 21 off as many balls with the winning boundary coming in the 39th over.
For England, the bowling honours were shared between Sean Cooper (2-15), Mel Hussein (2-19) and Mo Fayyaz (2-35).
In the other seventh round league matches, Australia, powered by Peter Solway’s 151, hammered Sri Lanka by 97 runs, New Zealand outplayed South Africa by eight wickets and Wales overcame Canada by six wickets.