A spirited performance by hosts Sri Lanka ensured that they earned their place in the final. It was a good win over Pakistan as they outplayed them by 16 runs in the semifinal and avenged their defeat at the hands of the same opponents in the 2009 Final. (All AFP Photos)
Opting to bat first, skipper Mahela Jayawardena provided the start for Sri Lanka scoring 42 from 36 balls that included 7 hits to the fence.
Tillakaratne Dilshan gave Mahela good support but his 35 from 43 was a slow innings considering the fact that the Lankans needed quick runs to get going.
Mohammad Hafeez led by example bowling a tight line and length which prevented the Lankans from going on the attack and scalped the prized wicket of Kumar Sangakkara.
Shahid Afridi was very economical and removed Mahela Jayawardena who was looking dangerous. It was a disciplined outing by the Pakistan bowlers as they restricted Sri Lanka to 139/4 in 20 overs.
Hafeez came to the party with the bat as well as he scored 42 runs from 40 balls and looked to take Pakistan to victory.
But the mystery man Ajantha Mendis pegged back Pakistan's acceleration taking the wickets of Imran Nazir at the start and Sohail Tanvir towards the end.
Angelo Mathews failed with the bat but made up with the ball snaring Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal which were severe blows to Pakistan's scheme of things.
But the pick of the bowlers was Rangana Herath who took three wickets. He got Shoaib Malik early and then dismissed Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi off successive deliveries to effectively turn the match on its head.
Umar Akmal bravely fought till the end hitting 29 not out off 22 balls with 3 boundaries in a bid to make a match of it.
But Sri Lanka once in the driver's seat, were in no mood to ease up and maintained their stranglehold to emerge victors by 16 runs. They now await either Australia or West Indies in the final on Sunday while Pakistan go home from a campaign that promised much but flattered to deceive.
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Oct 07 2012,19:00 (IST)
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