Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo October 4, 2012

Jayawardene inspires Sri Lanka to second WT20 final

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Sri Lanka 139 for 4 (Jayawardene 42, Dilshan 35) beat Pakistan 123 for 7 (Hafeez 42, Herath 3-25) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On a crumbling, turning, brute of a pitch by Twenty20 standards, Mahela Jayawardene responded with a T20-size classic. His 42 off 36, as delightful as it was delicate, proved to be the difference between the two sides in a tight semi-final. It was a bitterly disappointing night for his opposite number: Mohammad Hafeez outmanoeuvred a rampant Kumar Sangakkara in a crucial moment in the first innings, he came back from a horribly slow start to his own innings, but fell on 42 with some way to go for Pakistan.

It was Sangakkara who returned the favour with a superb stumping off a grubber to send Hafeez back with 48 to defend in 35 balls. Hafeez, who had just opened up with an extra-cover drive, a reverse-swept four and a punch through covers, was this close to making this his own night, but it was to be Sri Lanka's, who won their first Twenty20 international at R Premadasa Stadium, in the process successfully adjusting to a third venue in this tournament, the most for any team.

The powdery surface began to explode upon impact by the third over of the first innings. This was no place for average batsmen who stand there and swing from the hip. This would need a quality batsman. On turning tracks, they don't come better than Jayawardene. With the ball turning square at times, he stayed low, swept and reverse-swept often to play with the spinners' rhythm. Tillakaratne Dilshan, his opening partner, seemed to be batting on a different pitch.

It was not just that Jayawardene was sweeping and reversing, it was the range of that shot, able to beat the two square fielders on either side. He connected with four reverse-sweeps, scoring 12. Then there was the regulation sweep and the lap shot. Jayawardene's effort here was reminiscent of his hundred in the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup of 2007. Just when he was running away with this thing, he failed to connect well with a lap off Afridi, giving Pakistan their first wicket.

That didn't bring them any relief, though. Sangakkara began with a four to midwicket first ball, and later displayed a lovely chip over extra cover. Hafeez was about to get into the game now. Watching Sangakkara move too much around the crease, Hafeez pulled out before a delivery. When he did bowl, he bowled it wide and out of reach of the moving Sangakkara, and prised out a catch in the deep.

Now, with Dilshan looking to break free, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal bowled three big overs. Gul got the better of Dilshan, who was looking to break free after having been nine off 18 at one point. Ajmal, who conceded 20 off his first two overs, came back with a six-run 19th over. Gul missed his yorkers by the slightest of margins in the last over, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews took toll of it, and Sri Lanka came out confident of defending 139.

Pakistan never managed any flow to their reply. Imran Nazir swung from the hip. He hit some and missed some before playing on a quick delivery from Ajantha Mendis, making it 31 for 1 after six. Hafeez, having a horror time with the bat, had just begun to recover in company with Nasir Jamshed when an umpiring error turned the game around.

It was a slower offcutter from Mathews from over the stumps, hitting the middle stump of the left-handed Jamshed, but he was given out by Rod Tucker, despite the ball pitching outside the leg stump. In the same over, another offcutter sent Kamran Akmal back. The game had turned. Hafeez now began to swim against the tide. In what was now becoming a contest of the captains, Jayawardene prevailed.

He had brought in Rangana Herath, who is slower in the field than most, but Herath it was who bowled the decisive over. He needed help from Sangakkara, who reacted exceptionally to a shooter, and stumped Hafeez in a flash. Shahid Afridi fell for another golden duck, and those waiting for the Umars, Akmal and Gul, to do something special were willing the lightning to strike twice. It didn't.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fast_Track_Bully on October 6, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    @Zohaib Ahmed just one question to you: what was the advantage you got being in the semis? one more loss in your credit!

  • g.narsimha on October 6, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    SULAIMAAN 91 - NO body from INDIA IS TRYING TO say big things we are just responding , if we were about to lose to AFG what about the thrashing u r team got from us u peop-le boast of u r great bowling & degrade ours but couldnt score more than 126, take 2 wickets only so who are worth less.it proved it is not u r team which beat us ,

  • Johnny_Dolittle on October 6, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    @greatkhan: you said that "Pakistan has the Best Bowling Attack & worst batting among the test Playing Nations." Well, India has one of the best batting record and possibly one of the weakest bowling in the world, while Bangladesh is still trying to build its Cricket team. I guess the British divided us and made us weaker but it's a pitythat most of us still keep fighting with each other...!!!

  • JG2704 on October 6, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Judging by the amount of comments on team India , I'm guessing they qualified for BOTH semi finals which I have to admit is a great achievement

  • greatkhan on October 6, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Dear All, Watching Pakistan chase any kind of target is like watching a Baby,s delivery live. They just simply find it or make it extremely difficult chasing any kind of target & against any opposition. Easy to criticize Afridi & Nazir, but the truth of the matter is that, until & unless Pakistan produces quality Batsmen i dont think this problem will ever finish. Pakistan has the Best Bowling Attack & worst batting among the test Playing Nations.

  • dummy4fb on October 6, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    @IndiaRulesEverybody Just one question for you. Who made the semis.

  • India_Rules_Everybody on October 5, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Just one question for Pakistan. What is your net run rate now? :)))

  • Sinhaya on October 5, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    @Harmony111, India are also lucky to win tests against NZ. DRS is the only solution to umpiring howlers but when you Indians oppose it, be happy to accept umpiring blunders. Hey, if say a Lankan batsman got an umpiring howler on Thursday night and if we lost it, I know YOU WONT UTTER A SINGLE WORD ABOUT IT! You want to PREVENT Sri Lanka winning any game by any means. That is your sole ambition, but has failed so far in this T20 world cup.

  • Sinhaya on October 5, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    @JG2704, you are 100% correct! Many Indians are saying that Sri Lanka was in an easy group. What a joke! Then how come 2 teams from our group entered the finals? England were no doubt the former T20 champions and I was sad to see them leave. I am eagerly waiting to see the return of KP into the side.

  • GreenTeam-Elite on October 5, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    Wish you Good Luck Team Sri Lanka for the Final match!!! Hope you will win. From your Pakistani Brother.

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