Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo October 3, 2012

Sri Lanka and Pakistan in familiar territory


Match facts

October 4, 2012
Start time 1900 (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

Pakistan didn't know until late on Tuesday night whether they'd have to keep their hotel reservations in Colombo for a few more days. But when South Africa's Robin Peterson gloved a ball for a single to take the score to 122 against India, a roar went around the Premadasa. It sounded as though Sri Lanka were playing, but the noise was from a legion of Pakistan fans who were celebrating their team's progress to the semi-finals on net run rate, at India's expense. There wasn't much separating the two sides, but Pakistan were better placed because they got their tactics right and won big against Australia earlier in the evening.

Spin has been Pakistan's strength in this tournament and their captain Mohammad Hafeez used his resources astutely. If that meant giving a rookie spinner the new ball and making the most experienced fast bowler wait till the 18th over, then so be it. The plan was to suffocate the Australians with turn on a sluggish pitch and it worked to such an extent that even Shane Watson had a rare, bad outing. The fielders made Australia's qualifying target of 112 seem distant. As a result, Pakistan play their fourth World Twenty20 semi-final tomorrow, but unlike on Tuesday, they will not have the lion's share of the support.

Sri Lanka are familiar opponents for Pakistan. The hosts were the more dominant side when Pakistan visited in June-July. Sri Lanka looked a more settled side in the Super Eights, making heavy weather of the chase against New Zealand (which culminated in a Super Over victory) and trouncing West Indies and England. The return of Ajantha Mendis has given their spin attack more bite and the seamers, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara don't offer respite.

It's ironic though that the semi-final is Sri Lanka's first game in Colombo during this World Twenty20. They love playing at the Premadasa and the pitch - not as quick as the ones Pakistan played on in June - should suit their spinners. Sri Lanka haven't had a world title since 1996. They are two games away from breaking the drought, at home.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWLW
Pakistan WLWWW

Watch out for

Spin v spin: Opening with spin has become the norm for Pakistan. Will Hafeez adopt the same tactic against Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene, who are fluent players of slow bowling? Hafeez, Hasan and Saeed Ajmal conceded only 53 in 12 overs and took all seven wickets that fell against Australia. The two Mendises - Ajantha and Jeevan - have played vital roles for Sri Lanka as well, and they also possess a largely unknown quantity in Akila Dananjaya.

Something's got to give for Shahid Afridi. He has looked a shadow of his old self with the ball, while as a batsman he remains unreliable. His three wickets in the tournament are at odds with his reputation for running through line-ups. Afridi still gets the odd delivery to grip and beat the bat, but Pakistan need more from him. His star value may not have diminished, but his wicket-taking and match-winning ability has.

Team news

Mohammad Hafeez didn't drop any hints of team changes. Pakistan wouldn't want to disturb their winning combination.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Nasir Jamshed, 4 Kamran Akmal (wk), 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Abdul Razzaq, 8 Shahid Afridi, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Raza Hasan.

Mahela Jayawardene stopped short of saying he would captain again after Sri Lanka's smart play-safe approach against England. He didn't hint at team changes either.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Jeevan Mendis, 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Akila Dananjaya, 11 Ajantha Mendis

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have lost all four Twenty20 matches they've played at the Premadasa.

  • Of the 11 matches at the Premadasa in this tournament, only one has been won by the team winning the toss - by Australia against South Africa.


"We may not have won too many finals but getting there itself shows that we have played consistent cricket."
Mahela Jayawardene

"T20 is all about giving surprises every time you play. We are trying to do that, and most of the time, we are getting some success in that. I have no idea what it will be [tomorrow], but you never know."
Mohammad Hafeez.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jordan on October 4, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Indiahahahhaha...dont forget the Aussie match...when you guys close ur eyes , you should all see how they thrashed you like minnows... you guys can support anyone ..that is not going to change any guys have this much love towards Pakistan ...then why dont you play with them in their country and why dont you select any players for IPL... we have given you the WC last did not WIN it...u guys know that. SL will win today...come back later and check the score ...(this is for all Indian Fans)

  • Dinindu on October 4, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    @ sobersfan : Sri Lanka and Pakistan are not MINNOWS !!! :(

  • ali asghar on October 4, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    no shoaib please, what sania has been upto him i dont know and dont care but he is currently most out of sorts player. he shud quit shud start coaching Tenis.

  • Zee on October 4, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    I sense Professor wears a bit confused look -- probably he is mentally in a much-hyped and pressured stat of mind ... Guess if he makes a mess of things with this much visible pressure in his eyes and facial features at the start of an important match.

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    All The Best Team Sri Lanka

    Just Rock And I Wish U Will Get to Finals :)

  • ansar on October 4, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Veryyyyyyyyyyyyy strange about Razzaq he must be in today...what they did???????????sohail nothing pak need batting not bowling

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Great and young talent Raza Hasan will be the most unexpected success guy for Pakistani team , best of luck Pakistan.....

  • Zee on October 4, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    It is tragedy and very illogical to make out why Mr Hafiz has dropped Razzaq and guess what he picks Sohail Tanvi who will cost the match while Razzaq could have won it for Pakistan. This is the worst elimination in the tournament that one can imagine as a nightmare. Oh ... I tell you Sohail Tanvir is going to be bigger part in todays Pak loss and what a shameful decision .. Mr Hafiz can you ever .. ever justify this nonsense move of eliminating Adbur Razzaq.

  • Nikhil on October 4, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    This year its gonna be Aussies..

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    best of luck lankans,,so ur colors in up coming ur best god will rest,,,we r with uu

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