Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Live 1st Semi Final T20 World Cup 2012
One team is making its fourth consecutive semifinal appearance in World T20 events, another has played the finals of three World cups in last five years. Who'll triumph?
ICC World T20 Semifinal - Spin-heavy sides square off in all-Asian clash
After a turbulent couple of days when at different points, 3 teams hoped for a Semi-final spot, and another went out after two super overs, we have the deserving four in the semifinals. While South Africa was knocking out India, a legion of Sri Lankan fans roared in support - perhaps aware of the mental edge India have had over their most familiar opponents off late. Come tomorrow however, Pakistan can expect far less generosity from the home fans.
Strengths: Their biggest strength is lack of stage-fright. In the knockout stages, Pakistan is always a side you don't want to face. Having scraped through the initial bouts, the chilling efficacy with which they dismantled the hitherto dominant Australia (Shane Watson and all) clearly foretells the 'cornered tigers' are ready to bite. Their spin-heavy attack has the variety and skills for these pitches: Ajmal, Hafeez and Afridi each bring a new dimension to the attack and young Raza Hasan has been their trump card. Umar Gul found his death-overs touch in the last match as well.
Weakness: The openers are yet to fire comprehensively. In a format where a good start often gives momentum and dictates the way middle-order will approach, too often Hafeez's nerviness and Imran Nazir's over-attacking has left the middle order under pressure. Akmal brothers and Shoaib Malik hasn't quite stayed till the end, and it makes Nasir Jamshed's role very important. It's also about time that Pakistan fans accepted that Afridi's batting will always be a bonus, more miss than hit - his value is in his bowling, and fielding. Against the best fielding side of Asia, they also need to check their sloppiness on the field and atleast be tidy.
Possible Swap: For a side struggling to put up imposing totals, it's baffling to see Yasir Arafat making the cut while Abdul Razzak sits out. Not only is Razzak a much cleaner hitter with the bat, his use of seam, cut and slower balls is much better suited for the dusty Premadasa pitch.
Watch out for:
Shahid Afridi - he hasn't yet had the sort of impact he usually does, but the knockout match might just get him to lift his game
Strengths: After nearly botching a chase against New Zealand - a match they could've easily lost had NZ decided to run that extra run off the shot which hit Akila Dananjaya on the face - the Lions provided a solid thrashing to WI and defending champions England. Funnily enough, this is their first match in Colombo, a slow-low pitch which will suit all their spinners. Ajantha Mendis has roared back to international cricket, and Dananjaya, Dilshan, Jeevan etc. provide able support. Their top order is formidable: Jayawardene does it with a scalpel, Dilshan with an axe, and Sangakkara pretty much choses per his wish. In Lasith Malinga, they also have one of the best death over bowlers in the format and his triple-wicket over was the perfect form leading up to the semifinals.
Weakness: Take out the top order and the batting has a soft underbelly - Angelo Matthews, Jeevan Mendis, Thirimanne and Perera are all capable of slashing big hits but equally prone to dying by the sword, especially if the runs start drying up. None of them have the game to adapt seamlessly as Jayawardene. Pakistan was also the first team to decode Mendis - should he be negated - it'll be interesting to see how the bowling takes the heat.
Watch out for: Thisira Perera has won more MoM in his short career than most players win in their entire ones. His zippy bowling adds value - but it's his dangerous lusty hitting which might see him promoted if Dilshan goes early
Dilshan and Jayawardene vs Raza Hasan - Dilshan famously sparkled in the 2009 edition of the games, but ran into a red-hot Mohammad Aamer in the finals. That paved the way for Pakistan's victory. Raza Hasan has been doing it for Pakistan this time, will he trump the Simon and Garfunkel pair?
Malinga vs Razzak/Afridi - Pakistan's lower middle order has some serious hitters - both Razzak and Afridi can hit it out of the park on most grounds. Can they get under Malinga's laser guided yorkers?
Live Streaming of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka