Sri Lanka 139-4 (Jayawardene 42) beat
Pakistan 123-7 (Herath 3-25) by 16 runs
ICC World Twenty20 2012 semi-final
Report by Chetan Narula in Colombo
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 16 runs to reach the final of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 and guarantee a first-time winner on Sunday.
In a match that see-sawed from one team to another all throughout, the hosts emerged victorious and will await the winners of the Australia versus West Indies semi-final.
The pitch at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo was quite a dry one and certainly not optimum for a world championship semi-final. As such, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakratne Dilshan made a fiery start, adding 63 runs for the first wicket.
Their partnership lasted 62 balls, a tad slow but not just because of the pitch. While Jayawardene scored his runs at a very quick clip, 42 off 36 balls with seven fours, Dilshan took his own time. In fact he never really settled down and never accelerated throughout the innings, struggling to make good on what was an obvious game plan for the side.
After Jayawardene went in the 11th over, Kumar Sangakkara (18) came out and played exactly in the same manner, attacking all the way through. The second wicket pairing lasted only 21 runs and then Dilshan added another 37 runs with Jeevan Mendis (15).
He was finally out in the penultimate over, for 35 runs off 43 balls inclusive of three fours, and didn’t look comfortable at all with the slow nature of the pitch. Thisara Perera (11 not out) and Angelo Mathews (10 not out) remained unbeaten at the end and saw Lanka through to 139 for four in their allotted overs.
For Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal (1-33), Shahid Afridi (1-28), Mohammad Hafeez (1-12) and Umar Gul (1-26) took a wicket apiece as Sri Lanka fell short of their desired target by about 10-15 runs.
In reply, Pakistan started very cautiously. The opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir put on 31 runs at less than run-a-ball in six overs. Nazir (20) was bowled by Ajantha Mendis and then Angelo Mathews came on to strike terror into the batting line-up.
He first got Nasir Jamshed (4) out LBW, and although that call was a little dubious three balls later he fooled Kamran Akmal (1) with change of pace and he ended up lobbing the ball to Jayawardene.
Rangana Herath was getting some stick from Hafeez, but in the 15th over, exacted full revenge when he had Hafeez stumped off one that kept low. Then he bowled Shahid Afridi off the very next ball, for another golden duck - perhaps not a very difficult task.
Hafeez top scored with 42 off 40 balls, hitting four fours and one six, and should really have carried on. His wicket was the one that turned the tide against Pakistan.
Umar Akmal fought bravely until the end, scoring 29 off 22 balls with three fours but a re-run of his victory battle against South Africa at the same ground exactly a week ago – with Umar Gul in tow – proved to be beyond him.
Herath (3-25) was Sri Lanka’s best bowler, while Mathews and Mendis, both with figures of two for 27, were the other contributors to Pakistan’s downfall; one which came about despite shoddy fielding by Sri Lanka, which just goes to show the manner of the former's foolhardy batting display.
© Cricket World 2012
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