England skipper Eoin Morgan bemoaned a lack of home advantage after his side crashed out of the Champions Trophy following an eight-wicket semi-final thumping by Pakistan in Cardiff.
Playing on the pitch which Pakistan had beaten Sri Lanka on only two days earlier, England failed to adjust to the slow, low surface and posted a meagre total of 211 all out. Joe Root top scored with 46.
In contrast, Pakistan thrived on a pitch – controlled by the International Cricket Council – which offered very little pace or bounce as they ruthlessly dispatched tournament favourites England with 77 balls to spare.
“I don’t think there was any home advantage,” said Morgan. “We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament, and we found out the other day that today was going to be on a used wicket.
“Having watched Pakistan’s game against Sri Lanka, we actually didn’t think it was that bad. But certainly today it was. Coming from our match against Australia at Edgbaston [on Saturday], it was a big jump in pace and bounce and too much of an ask for us to adjust.
“I felt like we were trying to take a positive option against them, but obviously, given the conditions, it didn’t allow is to do that.
“Going into today’s game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan’s game closer to their home.”
Morgan, who was one of Pakistan seamer Hasan Ali’s three victims, refused to completely absolve his batsmen of any blame as they lost their final eight wickets for the addition of just 83 runs.
“We left ourselves short today adapting to conditions. It’s a big frustration because I think we’ve played some great cricket in this tournament, but we weren’t anywhere close to it today,” he added.
A knock of 43 by opener Jonny Bairstow, recalled in place of the axed Jason Roy, was added to by Root and Morgan, who struck 33, although Ben Stokes’s 34 was the only other meaningful contribution.
England could only muster seven fours in the final 30 overs, while they failed to hit a six during their entire innings as their attacking brand of cricket deserted them. Pakistan, however, ripped into their opponents with ease when it was their turn to bat.
Openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman hit 76 and 57 respectively, while Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez guided Pakistan home inside 38 overs. They will face the winners of today’s clash between India and Bangladesh in Sunday’s final.
England will now turn their attention to next week’s Twenty20 series with South Africa as they bid to quell the disappointment of their latest failed bid to claim global 50-over silverware.