Updated: 04/10/2012 18:12 | By pa.press.net

Sri Lanka take their turn



Sri Lanka saw off the challenge of Pakistan to reach the World Twenty20 final

Sri Lanka saw off the challenge of Pakistan to reach the World Twenty20 final

Sri Lanka's spinners carried them through to the final of their home tournament, with a 16-run ICC World Twenty20 victory over Pakistan at the Premadasa Stadium.

Rival openers Mahela Jayawardene and Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 42 on each side in this semi-final, but it was Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis who gave Sri Lanka the edge with five wickets between them after the hosts had posted 139 for four.

Sri Lanka's sixless innings was a curious affair, albeit on a slow and low surface - but Pakistan's run chase ran out of steam against Angelo Mathews and the spinners.

Jayawardene played especially well, as he almost always does, after choosing to bat first. The captain dominated a first-wicket stand of 63 with Tillekeratne Dilshan, reverse-sweeping expertly against spin and timing and placing his seven boundaries.

But he chipped a catch to short fine-leg off Shahid Afridi, and then Kumar Sangakkara made all except three runs in a stand of 24 until he was caught at long-on off Hafeez. Umar Gul thought he had struck in the 18th over, Jeevan Mendis lbw to a yorker, only to discover he had overstepped. But two balls later, Gul got Dilshan in near identical fashion - the opener having taken 43 deliveries over his 35.

Thisara Perera and Mathews muscled 16 off Gul's final over, to give Sri Lanka a little breathing space for which they would be mighty thankful later. Pakistan's reply might have been minus Imran Nazir for a duck, had Dilshan somehow clung on to a very tough diving chance at point off Mathews.

Instead, the first breakthrough did not come until there was 31 on the board when Nazir contrived to edge a forward-defensive at Ajantha Mendis on to his stumps - via pad and ground - in the spinner's first over.

Hafeez also escaped an early half-chance, when Herath could not hold a diving effort at long-on off Perera - nothing to the let-off the Pakistan captain would get on 24 when Lasith Malinga put down a straightforward one in the same position off Mathews. The same bowler had already struck twice in four balls, however, when Jayawardene brought him back for the 10th over.

Nasir Jamshed went lbw to one that might have pitched just outside leg; then Kamran Akmal gave himself little chance to adapt to the awkward surface and somehow propelled an attempted big hit only as far as midwicket where Jayawardene himself took an easy catch. Shoaib Malik was bowled by one that spun sharply from Herath (three for 25).

But it was the dismissal of Hafeez, stumped on the charge to the slow left-armer, which turned the match Sri Lanka's way - and when the out-of-form Afridi was then bowled first ball, Pakistan were 91 for six. They still had time to be competitive but were running out of the right men to find the boundaries, and in the end it was too much for Umar Akmal to do on his own.

0Comments
10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest cricket news

  • Paul Farbrace has been confirmed as England's assistant coach

    Paul Farbrace is to start work as England's assistant coach with immediate effect, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday.

  • Alastair Cook, pictured, has backed new assistant coach Paul Farbrace to help launch a new era with England

    Paul Farbrace's England defection will not affect this summer's One Day International and Test clashes with Sri Lanka, according to captain Alastair Cook.

  • Ryan Sidebottom took seven wickets in Yorkshire's victory over Northamptonshire

    Yorkshire were the only victors in this round of the LV= County Championship, completing an innings-and-120-run victory over Northamptonshire.

  • Junaid Khan will return to Lancashire for their limited overs matches this season

    Pakistan seamer Junaid Khan will return to Lancashire this season as an overseas limited overs signing.

  • Joe Root made eight on his return from a broken thumb with Yorkshire's Second XI

    Joe Root made a short-lived return to the crease for Yorkshire's Second XI on Wednesday after seven weeks out with a broken thumb.

  • Iain Wardlaw led the way for the Scots as he claimed three for 27 runs

    Scotland warmed up for next month's one-day international with England by beating the MCC by a single wicket at Lords.

  • New Zealand's Jesse Ryder will join Essex next month

    New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder has signed for Essex until the end of the season.

  • Surrey's Zafar Ansari spent the third day of the match at home

    Zafar Ansari's concussion is a "major blow" to Surrey's LV= County Championship chances against Essex, according to coach Graham Ford.

  • Durham are still hopeful of agreeing a short-term deal for Kumar Sangakkara

    Durham coach Jon Lewis remains hopeful of making a breakthrough in his pursuit of Sri Lanka star Kumar Sangakkara.

  • England captain Alastair Cook, right, plans to rebuild England alongside new head coach Peter Moores, left.

    Alastair Cook insists he and returning head coach Peter Moores will be free to forge a new England without undue influence from Andy Flower.

  • Ryan Sidebottom was among the wickets for Yorkshire

    Northamptonshire showed some overdue resistance but late wickets for Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom kept Yorkshire on course for victory in their LV= County Championship clash.

  • Joe Root had to make do with fielding practice

    England batsman Joe Root had to be be satisfied with fielding practice as he made his comeback from injury in Yorkshire seconds' three-day friendly against Lancashire at Northop Hall in North Wales.

  • Mike Watkinson, pictured, was not surprised to see Peter Moores move on

    Lancashire director of cricket Mike Watkinson knew Peter Moores was too ambitious to spend the rest of his career at Old Trafford but admits the timing of his appointment as England coach has been tricky.

  • Jack Brookes helped Yorkshire take County Championship control against former club Northamptonshire

    Jack Brooks ripped through his former side Northamptonshire at Headingley by taking five wickets as Yorkshire dismantled their visitors for just 94 all out.

  • Zafar Ansari has undergone hospital treatment for concussion

    Zafar Ansari will find out on Tuesday morning whether he can return to action in Surrey's LV=County Championship Division Two clash with Essex at The Oval after receiving hospital treatment for concussion.