Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo

Toss key in spin-heavy contest

In a clash of two powerful bowling teams at a spin-friendly venue, the outcome of the toss could have a bearing on the result

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

October 3, 2012

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers at the toss, India v South Africa, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 2, 2012
Teams winning the toss have won only one out of 11 matches played at the Premadasa stadium © ICC/Getty

In a tournament where no team has managed to stay unbeaten, the first semi-final will be contested between two of the most consistent teams in the history of the World Twenty20. Pakistan, who qualified for the semi-finals on the basis of a better net run rate than India, have defied the unpredictable nature of the format by making the last four in each of the four tournaments. Only Michael Hussey's remarkable 60 ended their hopes of making a third consecutive final in the 2010 World Twenty20. Sri Lanka, who went through the Super Eights undefeated, are the only team to come close to matching Pakistan's consistency. After a poor run in the first World Twenty20 in 2007, they made the final in 2009 and lost out to England in the semi-final in 2010. On a pitch that is increasingly aiding spin bowlers, the clash between the two sides could be decided by the performance of the slow bowlers.

Not only have Pakistan been the most successful team in Twenty20 internationals, they have also had the better of Sri Lanka in the head-to-head clashes. In three matches between the two teams in the World Twenty20, Pakistan have won two including the 2009 final at Lord's. The dominance has also extended to matches played in neutral venues (4-2) and in Sri Lanka (2-1). Pakistan have been comfortably ahead of Sri Lanka in terms of both the average difference (difference between batting and bowling averages) and run-rate difference (difference between batting run-rate and bowling economy rate). The team batting first has dominated the clashes in Sri Lanka. While the teams have won one game apiece in Hambantota, Pakistan won the only meeting at the Premadasa stadium by 52 runs.

Pakistan's record v Sri Lanka in Twenty20 internationals
Wins/Losses Bat avg/Bowl avg Bat rr/Bowl rr Avg diff rr diff
Overall 6/3 22.15/16.52 7.18/6.85 5.53 0.33
In Sri Lanka 2/1 18.52/13.00 6.74/6.10 5.52 0.64
Neutral Venues 4/2 24.27/18.58 7.40/7.21 5.69 0.19
In World Twenty20 2/1 27.00/20.18 7.82/7.40 6.82 0.42

Pakistan have been the best bowling side by far in the tournament. They came through a difficult group in the Super Eights that included India, Australia and South Africa. Against South Africa and Australia, they produced excellent bowling performances, restricting the opposition teams to 133 and 117 respectively. Saeed Ajmal, the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 internationals, has been in outstanding form picking up eight wickets at an economy rate of just 6.50. Ajantha Mendis has picked up more wickets (9) but six of his wickets came in Sri Lanka's opening game against Zimbabwe. Against the top teams, Mendis has struggled, picking up only three wickets at an average of 33.33 and economy rate of 8.33. Raza Hasan, who has the lowest boundary-run percentage (37.5%), has been a revelation for Pakistan in the tournament so far. In 11 overs, he has given away just 48 runs (economy rate of 4.36) and picked up three wickets. Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez too has been among the wickets (four wickets) and conceded less than a run a ball. Shahid Afridi has decent numbers overall but has a high economy rate (7.68) and average (61.50) against top teams.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka spinners in the tournament so far
Bowler Runs conceded Balls bowled Wickets Economy rate Average % boundary runs
Ajantha Mendis 108 96 9 6.75 12.00 57.40
Jeevan Mendis 54 54 5 6.00 10.80 40.74
Akila Dananjaya 58 48 4 7.25 14.50 37.93
Saeed Ajmal 130 120 8 6.50 16.25 52.30
Mohammad Hafeez 95 96 4 5.93 23.75 46.31
Raza Hasan 48 66 3 4.36 16.00 37.50
Shahid Afridi 143 120 3 7.15 47.66 41.95

In the first six-over period of the innings (Powerplay overs), Sri Lanka are well ahead of Pakistan on the batting front. With both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene in good form, Sri Lanka have maintained an excellent scoring rate (8.60) without losing too many wickets. Pakistan, on the other hand, have been inconsistent at the start in most matches. In their three matches in the Super Eights, Pakistan scored 110 runs in the 18 overs (run-rate 6.11) losing seven wickets. Sri Lanka, who topped their group, were superb in the Powerplay overs in the Super Eights scoring 167 runs in 18 overs (run-rate 9.27) losing just two wickets. Both teams have fairly similar stats in the first six overs on the bowling front though, with Pakistan boasting a slightly better economy rate (6.43).

Sri Lanka's batting order has generally been top heavy and as a result, the average and scoring rate in the middle of the innings have been low. In the same period (overs 7-14), Pakistan have the better average (33.22) and scoring rate (7.47). In the middle overs, Sri Lanka have been slightly more expensive but have picked up more wickets (10). In the last six-over period, there is very little to choose between the two teams on the bowling front. However, Sri Lanka have a much better batting average (25.87) and scoring rate (10.70) in the final six overs.

Teams' performance in various phases of the innings
Period of innings Pakistan (bat avg, bat rr) Sri Lanka (bat avg, bat rr) Pakistan (bowl avg, bowl rr) Sri Lanka (bowl avg, bowl rr)
Overs 1-6 28.12, 7.50 43.00, 8.60 27.57, 6.43 20.30, 6.76
Overs 7-14 33.22, 7.47 29.50, 7.15 34.87, 6.97 23.70, 7.18
Overs 15-20 16.26, 8.71 25.87, 10.70 16.40, 9.11 12.73, 8.88

Jayawardene notched up his sixth fifty-plus score in the World Twenty20 during Sri Lanka's nine-wicket win against West Indies. Dilshan, one of only five batsmen to score a century in Twenty20 internationals, has also been in fine form in the tournament scoring 144 runs in five innings. In contrast, Pakistan's openers have failed to get going with Imran Nazir in particular falling to rash shots in the Super Eights stage. Nasir Jamshed, who has two fifty-plus scores in the tournament, has boosted Pakistan's numbers in the middle order. Pakistan's middle-order batsmen also have a higher boundary percentage (52.77) as compared to their Sri Lankan counterparts. The Sri Lankan lower middle-order (positions 5-7) batsmen have hardly had much to do so far in the tournament losing only five wickets in the six matches. For Pakistan, Umar Akmal has been the stand-out batsman in the lower middle-order. Akmal, who remained unbeaten in Pakistan's successful chase against South Africa, has scored 96 runs (average 48.00) while being dismissed only twice.

Batting stats for the two teams in the tournament
Batting position Team Innings Runs Average SR 50+ scores Boun %
1-2 Sri Lanka 10 316 35.11 131.66 2 62.65
1-2 Pakistan 10 255 25.50 122.59 1 64.31
3-4 Sri Lanka 9 192 24.00 122.29 0 45.83
3-4 Pakistan 10 216 27.00 131.70 2 52.77
5-7 Sri Lanka 11 141 28.20 145.36 0 45.39
5-7 Pakistan 12 188 20.88 111.24 0 51.06

The Premadasa stadium, once a venue that regularly favoured the side batting first, has provided no particular advantage in this tournament. In 12 matches, six have been won by the team chasing and five by the team batting first. The story with the toss is a completely different one though; the team winning the toss has won one and lost ten matches. The overall average and run-rate are higher in the first innings (24.21 and 7.60 respectively) as compared to the corresponding stats in the second innings (20.96 and 7.26). Pace bowlers have dominated the wickets tally in the first innings picking up 49 wickets at 7.78. Spinners, however, have had a much better economy rate (6.84) in the first innings. In the second innings, spinners have outperformed the pace bowlers on the wickets front too picking up 34 wickets at 6.57 while the fast bowlers have managed 26 wickets at a much higher economy rate of 7.80.

Venue stats for the Premadasa stadium
  Matches Wins/losses Run-rate Average Boundary% Pace (wickets,econ) Spin(wickets,econ)
1st innings 12 5/6 7.60 24.21 53.78 49, 7.78 22, 6.84
2nd innings 12 6/5 7.26 20.96 59.05 26, 7.80 34, 6.57

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Yousufosman4u on (October 4, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

Good Luck to Pakistan Vs Srilanka. Pakistan deserves to wins as it has good bowling and batting.

Posted by shazzar on (October 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Pakistan simply need to stick with same team, no need to replace afridi since on his day his a game destroyer and in this format does not need much for that to happen, just ask gul. Just need hafeez to drop to 3.

Posted by RF-Frequency on (October 4, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

Here's the Pakistan team for today's match in batting order: Kamran Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Muhammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Asim Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzak, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Hassan Raza. Yep, that's right NO BOOM BOOM! Opponents now start celebrating when he comes to the crease to bat!

Posted by KunzMan on (October 4, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Toss actually won't matter as Pakistan is likely to BAT first since they are comparatively better at defending rather than chasing and Sri Lanka is likely to FIELD first as dew might render our spiining LIONS inefficient. COme what may my Sri Lankan Lions will CRUSH THE PAkistan team. Should be a good one sided semi final. BEcause we are the Lankan Lions and WE ROARRR......MEOW!!

Posted by KunzMan on (October 4, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

"Team winning the toss have won only one out of 11 games played at this ground." How is winning the toss a key then? So it means you should not win the toss.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

Pakistan got to bat first and post around 150 odd runs, the magicians will do the rest though they must not let their guard down, Sri Lanka's top 3 batsmen are no less than Watson & Warner. So, hope we see Imran & Akmals in colours!

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

Sri Lankans are like brothers... they support us whenever we need them. Being a Pakistani I would of course like to see Pakistan Win but would like to wish SL good luck for the match. May the best wins!

Posted by vasant85 on (October 4, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Nazir is gud heater of ball, so he is gud enough than Shafiq for such format of game....Afridi should be promoted in batting order, kamran akmal n Nazir should be given to open the inning with bat hafeez should come at place of hasan riaz should be brought back, shoiab malik has nothing to do, why he is there i'm surprised...???? bst of luck pakistan.. i want a competative match

Posted by RAQ on (October 4, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

@Dove_Mission loosing toss is the key :D

Posted by Aleem_Latif on (October 4, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

It is going to be be a hell of a contest for sure ... both teams are looking good .. Pakistan should retain the same squad which they had against OZs. No change of strategy - just keep it simple, as the last game ... Hafeez should not give any over to Shoab Malik but can utilize Razaq instead, who would be comparatively more difficult to score runs against .. Only possible replacement is Malik with Shafique, otherwise all looking good for Pak. Batting first would be good on this pitch instead of 2nd batting - under pressure. Pakistan would win this match - but not without serious fight by SL team.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

I extend my wishes to Srilanka to go through the semifinal stage without any difficulties. Best of luck to Mahela & his team

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

Pakistan is in winning combination! Stick to the team and plan! Though we need to improve batting! If we cover that, nothing is going to stop us till final!

Posted by tanveer131 on (October 4, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

I m Pakistani and I support SL every match other than VS PAK. So I Hope Pak wins but also give my wishes to our SL brothers who support us throughout the tournament.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

It just maybe Nazirs day. He is due a good score, and srilanka is due a loss. But Lankans have the men to neutralize Pakistani spin.

Posted by ZAB2121 on (October 4, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

Afridi should toss the coin and if he wins then his job is over :)

Posted by Muttee on (October 4, 2012, 7:48 GMT)

all the people who are saying that Afridi should be replaced by Arafat, you really need some help. I would take a misfiring afridi any given day over in form Arafat. Afridi is an impact player, he was just unlucky not to get wickets but he bowled really well in last two matches.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Masud Zaman, are you a relative of Arafat? only a relative can speak for his selection in team. I think he should be banned forever to play in Pakistan based on his below poor performance and unattractive style of cricket. I have not seen him played one good inning that would have contributed in Pakistan win. So please!!

Posted by Khankhail on (October 4, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

For me asad shafiq should be in for Imran Nazir (he is not a player to learn from his mistakes and no more international cricket for him). then i would like to send Shahid Afridi along with Asad Shafiq up to the order. Nasir Jamshaid at No 3. Umar Akmal very talented young man averaging over 45 in w.cup at No 4. Kamran Akmal at No 5 with Hafeez at Six if early wicket goes down other wise send in Abdul Razzaq for closing overs. in Bowling Start with Abdul Razzaq and Raza Hassan. Umar Gul with first change alongwith one over from M.Hafeez and then one over from S.Ajmal. if sril lanka loose couple of early wickets, then put continue pressure with S.Ajmal another over. Try an other over from Ab.Razzaq round 16-17 to earn bit a reverse swing if ball got little rough. But hafeez need to quick in their decision and attacking approach of his play a key role to place pakistan in to the final.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Afridi Should Really be Dropped But Not If He Is Willing To Perform , Which I Dont Think He Is. As @Asif Malik Said "Pacers Game" And Considering The Stats If Pak Are To Ball First They Must Pick Up Sami For Raza As Pace Has Picked Up Many Wickets And Shafiq For Nazir But If They Are To Bat First They Should Pickup Shafiq For Nazir But However This Is My Point I Wish Good Luck To Both Teams And Lookin Forward To A Good Match

Posted by Patrick27 on (October 4, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

While all the talks about spinners, I'd rather go with Rangana Herath instead of Ajantha Mendis who hasn't done so well against India / Pakistan recently. Pakistan aren't great players of left arm spin. All the best Sri Lanka!!!

Posted by CriticallyCricket on (October 4, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

It will be SL game unless GUL and AFRIDI come to party, as so far they have been totally out of form!

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (October 4, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Scores will tied and Super Over will be tied.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

All set for a great contest between 2 great teams!

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (October 4, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Best fielding team will win. So SL has the advantage.

Posted by dmqi on (October 4, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

SL first 4 top quality batsmen but Pak has no consistent performer except Umar in this world cup. Pak has better bowling. So, it will come down to Pak bowling vs SL batting. Pak should replace Imran Nazir with asad shafique. SL will enjoy home advantage. Winning margin less than 10, last 1-2 ball I hope.?

Posted by stavic786 on (October 4, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

srilanka played 4 t20s at premadasa and lost all ??? Would't that be a factor...?

Posted by IndvsEngseries on (October 4, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

Stats are irrelevant, who plays well on the day will win. SL are favourites to win because they have most potent and lethal bowling attack and few dangerous batsman. SL batsman are good players of spin and they know how to handle Pak spinners especially Almal because they have played against Pak recently. on the other-hand Pak batsman will fall against both Mendis and Malinga. Best of Luck SL

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 2:19 GMT)

Afridi should be replaced by Arafat....& that will be g8.

Posted by anman on (October 4, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

Pakistan should sit <b> Imran Nazir </b>out and bring in <b>Asad Shafiq</b>. Open with Hafeez and Kamran and bring dont change rest of the team. Afridi is old and should probably retire but he is still not as bad. I hope they don't sit out Razzaq. <br> After Pakistan, Sri Lanka is my favorite team and hoping for a good cricket day tomorrow.

Posted by   on (October 4, 2012, 1:04 GMT)


Of the 11 matches at the Premadasa in this tournament, only one has been won by the team winning the toss.

Posted by criclanka on (October 4, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

On the other day sanjay manjerekar said SL is not a good T20 team but this artical proof otherwise..Go mahela GO we want your team in the final, after all SL is the No 1 ranked team in T20s at the moment. Best of luck for the both of the team.

Posted by Dove_Mission on (October 3, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

Wrong headline. Toss wont make any diff as stats show the ratio is almost the same for either batting first or bowling.

Posted by QPSALES11 on (October 3, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

Hi Guys, I like the comments and suggestions from all you guys... But Pakistan bowling should target Sangakara, Jayawardene and Dilshan so that we can put them on back foot. Nasir Jamshed and Afridi are my openers of tomorrow's match hafeez on 3rd number replace Imran Nazir with Asad shafiq because we want reliable batsman for tomorrow's match... Razzaq and Raza Hassan are good for attacking in bowling and hope that they can help pakistan getting early breakthrough after that hafeez can target sanga with his beauty ball for left handers.... I would love to see Pakistan in Final and InshAllah Pakistan will win the world cup as well :)

Posted by bilalnoshahi786 on (October 3, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

i think Imran Nazir should be dropped and Asad Shafiq should come in due to poor batting by Nazir, its putting pressure on the top middle order of Pakistan team, Nasir Jamshed should open with Kamran Akmal and Hafeez should bring himself in at number 3 and then asad shafiq should introduce himself at number 4 and so on. for the bowling, we are alright, weather SL can play spin, but facing pakistani spin is tough, really tough, Razzaq should help Gul for some overs if need be, Gul cannot cope if he hasnt got a partner of seam bowling with him. however, inshallah Pakistan will win tomorrow and proceed to the semi finals with the West Indies.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

gud luck to asian favourites...

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (October 3, 2012, 20:35 GMT)

Evenly placed sides, it could be anyone' game. I think the Lankan's may come under pressure due to the huge expectation of playing at home. And, traditionally Pakistan have done well against Sri Lanka in all formats, so there might be some betting trends towards Pakistan. Also, the dominant performance against a resurgent Australia showed really how lethal the Pakistani bowling attack can be. This will be a good contest because I think Jayawardene, Sanga and Kohli are probably the 3 best batsmen in the word against Pakistani bowling. With 2 of them playing this game, Pakistan really needs to figure out a way to attack these two. Guys like Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed and even Shoaib Malik are very good players of spin, compared to many other batting line-ups in the tournament, including Aus, Eng, SA and WI. Based on that, we're really up for a fun encounter. Mighty respect for the Lankan team, best of luck to both squads and all fans!

Posted by Omarrz on (October 3, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

Srilankan batsmen have scored more than Pakistan only because they have played in Palakele, a batting paradise. Pakistan too scored 170+ in both of their group matches at Palakele. Srilanka will be playing there 1st game at Colombo, a relatively less batting friendly ground.

Posted by Abidmashwani on (October 3, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

Cricinfo you can find a photo of Pak v SL captain at the toss to add to this article :) or you may add Indian captain to keep theme alive!

Posted by pak94fan on (October 3, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

The fact that Junaid Khan isn't part of the squad is deplorable. Pakistan has been lacking in the pace department in the WC so far; Junaid could have been the solution. It is all the more annoying that he isn't here to play against SL, against whom he has a phenomenal record (remember the recent Test match in SL?).

As it stands, Raza has been great opening the bowling, Ajmal is the #1 spinner and Hafeez's economy is below 6, so the only liability in the spin department is Afridi, who has been expensive and has not gotten much wickets. Since SL are such good players of spin, they could make maximum use of this weakness. If Pakistan are to make any changes, I suppose bringing in Arafat/Tanvir for Afridi would be ideal, however they are both prone to errors, therefore not sure about the combination for SL tomorrow. Either way, I'm hoping for the best insha'Allah, but I won't be too disappointed if we lose since SL has been phenomenal in the WC so far. Looking forward to a good match!

Posted by   on (October 3, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

Best of luck to both the teams! It should be a competitive match, should be fun to watch!

Posted by   on (October 3, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

As both teams can play spin well, it will be Pacers game from both sides. In other words, its Malinga vs Gul instead of Arjentha Medis vs Saeed Ajmal.

Posted by ammar7may on (October 3, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Pakistani batsmen need to survive for first 8-10 overs. If they are 2 down until 10th over, I expect a competitive total from them, which will be key to provide a solid target as well as for their successful chase. Imran Nazir and Hafeez both are performing really poor at opening innings, and put extraordinary pressure on the rest of the team, so either they are needed to drop from opening, or strictly focus on their batting performance. One over is enough to get ready for the innings. If they feel that they need more balls to get ready for stroke (not foolish shots) playing, then they must spend more time in nets. Pakistan also needs to review pace battery resources against SL, as they are mostly fallen short against quality pace (Gul & Abdul Razzaq should sufficiently fulfill their pacer needs. They should be given at least one over at the top). Pakistan lost to SL in SL recently, so they need not to get over confident. Good comeback by Abdul Razzaq indeed. Good luck Pakistan!

Posted by 6pack on (October 3, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

Should be fairly even. If Pakistan make early inroads against the SL top order, it may dent their confidence... I believe the SL middle order is still suspect, despite a good showing against England the other day. On the other hand, Pakistan are prone to severely disappoint when they look like they are in top form... so all in all, should be a good match.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

Bring in Asad Shafiq in place of Yasser Arafat or Shahid Afridi.

Posted by ReZe on (October 3, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

Great stastical analysis by the writer!!!! Pakistan really has an edge on Sri lanka in T 20, but Sri lanka are in form and brilliant throughout the tournament Iits gonna great contest.

Posted by   on (October 3, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

good luck pakistan and win the game no tension pakistan

Posted by Sports4Youth on (October 3, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

Both teams play spin well. Both the teams are depending heavily on their spin attack. It should be an exciting contest to watch. The difference could be in the experience that the Sri Lankan batsmen have. Pakistani batting is comparitively younger in age or number of games. But that should not matter too much as the conditions in Sri Lanka will be similer to their home conditions. In the bowling department Pakistan have more variety & they also enjoy the services of the worlds best spinner (Ajmal) aided by a good variety of Hasan, Hafeez, Afridi, Mallik, Gul & Razzaq. . I dont see any changes on either side, though my personal choice would be to have Yasir Arafat for Gul.

Posted by Dilbar786 on (October 3, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

good luck both teams.Pakistan zindabad

Posted by voyager on (October 3, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

So in summary it doesn't matter if you bat first or second! just have to play better then the opponent.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (October 3, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

Team winning toss should elected to bowl first.both are equal strong and lovely team.all the best.we need better game of cricket...

Posted by cyberstudent on (October 3, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

good luck to to your best...keep the same team as against OZs..

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Tournament Results
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 7, 2012
West Indies won by 36 runs
Australia v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 5, 2012
West Indies won by 74 runs
Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 4, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 16 runs
India v South Africa at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
India won by 1 run
Australia v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
Pakistan won by 32 runs
More results »
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