Starts but no big scores for England's upper order
On a slow, gripping and turning pitch, England found life difficult to build a score from the outset. Replacing the out-of-form Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow's wicket held a charmed life from the outset. Just two balls into his innings he was lucky to escape an LBW review as the umpire's original decision of 'not out' was upheld by a tight referral.
As Bairstow battled his way through the start of the innings, it was his opening partner Alex Hales who was the first to depart. Chipping a Rumman Raess delivery straight to Babar Azam for 13, it became clear that this was a difficult pitch to time the ball on.
Bairstow was dropped on 27 before his luck eventually ran out on 43. Looking to extend the England run rate, the opener played a loose shot straight Mohammad Hafeez from Hasan Ali.
Joe Root (46) and Eoin Morgan (33) were given the task of rebuilding but they followed the trend of finding timing a challenge, as England passed the midway mark with just one over culminating in more than seven runs being scored. The pair were to succumb to the pressure of a run rate below five as both players lost their wickets within a short space of time as they ended up swiping and edging deliveries straight to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.
Hosts crumble and fall well short of par score
With two new players in Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler coming to the crease, England were desperate for a partnership. It lasted just 14 deliveries and made only seven runs as Buttler edged a swinging Junaid Khan delivery to Sarfraz for his hat-trick of catches immediately after the drinks break. England had dwindled from 128-2 to 148-5.
With wickets tumbling and the run rate dropping even further, Pakistan's seamers had their backs up. As Stokes struggled to score, Moeen Ali looked to counter-attack but the approach was short lived. Moeen attempted to hook Junaid over the boundary but instead picked out Fakhar Zaman who held on to an excellent catch to dismiss Moeen for 11.
England's problems with the bat continued as they scored 19 runs in 30 deliveries when they entered the latter stages of the innings. With the run rate below 4.2 going into the 44th over, Adil Rashid was slow off the mark for a single and departed for seven when run-out by a direct hit from the substitute fielder.
The usually explosive Stokes was building a sensible if frustrating innings at the other end. With the all-rounder aware of the importance of keeping his wicket, he spent the best part of 17 overs just maintaining his position. Yet with time running out and no boundary for England in ten overs and remarkably none for Stokes after 64 balls, the number six chipped Hasan straight to Hafeez for 34 as the seamer took a third wicket in his final over.
After Liam Plunkett eventually managed to edge a ball to the boundary for England, his brief innings of nine runs from 14 balls came to an end when he hooked Rumman, making his debut in place of Muhammad Amir, straight to Azhar Ali. The final partnership of Mark Wood and Jake Ball only lasted another handful of balls as the former was run-out and England were left with a paltry 211 as their innings ended with a ball to spare and just 15 boundaries.
Pakistan get their run chase off to the perfect start
England would have been keen to keep their bowling tight in the opening overs and put some pressure on the batsmen in the hope of picking up wickets. Yet Pakistan made ten runs from Wood's opening contribution, more than England managed in any individual over of their 50 at the crease.
The hosts responded by learning from what their opponents did well and began to bowl shorter as Wood returned to consistently just miss Azhar's outside edge. Yet Fakhar, in particular, was looking comfortable at the crease and the pair developed the first 50 partnership of the match in the eleventh over.
With pressure mounting on the bowlers to find a breakthrough and the Pakistan batters building in confidence, a number of poor deliveries were dispatched to the boundary. It took just 49 deliveries for Fakhar to reach 50 and the first opening partnership century for 35 matches soon bestowed the visitors. Just a few overs later, Azhar followed his partner past the 50 mark.
As Pakistan hit 118, England finally got their breakthrough when Fakhar misjudged a Rashid delivery to be stumped by Buttler for 57 off as many balls.
Pakistan cruise to victory
Yet it appeared to be too little too late for England as Babar helped Azhar build on the foundations laid by Fakhar. The pair made 55 before Ball ended Azhar's excellent innings of 76 after knocking his stumps out of the ground.
However, Hafeez joined Babar in picking off the remaining 39 runs to ease Pakistan to a comfortable eight-wicket victory and a place in the Champions Trophy final.