Colombo, Oct 4: It was a low-scoring affair and Sri Lanka were brilliant to edge Pakistan out and book a berth in the final of ICC World Twenty20 2012 here on Thursday night at the R Premadasa Stadium. Sri Lanka won by 16 runs after managing to score 139/4 in 20 overs on a difficult pitch. Pakistan finished on 123/7 in 20 overs.
When Sri Lanka were kept to 139 on a tough 22-yard Premadasa strip, Pakistan would have fancied their chances to overhaul that. However, Sri Lankan bowlers were outstanding in defending that score. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was a fine inclusion for this game by captain Mahela Jayawardene. Herath took 3/25 in four overs and Lasith Malinga did not get a wicket but he was superb with the ball conceding just 19 in four overs.
Angelo Mathews, who opened the bowling took two wickets while Ajantha Mendis too had two scalps to his name. Captain Mohammad Hafeez fought hard for his team's top score of 42 but was brilliantly dismissed by Herath.
Pakistan needed 27 runs off the last two overs. There was still hope with Umar Akmal at the crease. But Malinga gave Nuwan Kulasekara 23 runs to defend in the final six balls. Pakistan were limited to just six and the Sri Lankan supporters erupted in joy as the hosts made it to their second final in WT20. This is also their second successive final after reaching the 50-over World Cup title round last year in Mumbai.
Sri Lanka Innings Report
Pakistan were excellent with the ball as they have restricted Sri Lanka to 139/4 in 20 overs in the first semi-final of ICC World Twenty20 2012 here at R Premadasa Stadium on Thursday night.
On a dry pitch, Pakistan bowlers maintained their dominance over the Sri Lankan batsmen right from the start. There was not even one six conceded by Pakistan. Captain Mahela Jayawardene was the top scorer with 42.
Sri Lanka made a cautious start with 34/0 in six overs. Tillakaratne Dilshan was struggling to put bat to ball. His struggles ended with an unusual 43-ball 35. The hosts took 15 over to reach 100 and with some big hitters to come, were eyeing 150 but fell short by 11 runs. A 15-run final over helped their cause in the end.
Left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir was exceptional at the start of the innings. He was unlucky to finish without a wicket but gave just 11 runs in his three overs. Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Gul had one wicket apiece.
Though it is difficult track to score, 140 target appears to be less for Pakistan. However, we have to wait and see how Sri Lanka bowlers perform on this wicket.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and elected to bat against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka made one change, bringing in Rangana Herath in place of Akila Dananjaya. Pakistan too opted for one change, giving left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir a chance in place of Abdul Razzaq.
Sri Lanka had lost to Pakistan in the final of 2009 World T20 in England. This is the first meeting between the sides in this edition of World T20.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (Australia) and Rod Tucker (Australia)
Third umpire: Ian Gould (England)
Fourth umpire: Steve Davis (Australia)
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand)
Match starts at 7.00 PM IST