T20 world cup 1st semi final live streaming Sri Lanka vs Pakistan
More than three years after they lost in the World T20 final to Pakistan at Lord's in 2009, Sri Lanka finally have a chance to avenge that loss.
On Thursday, the two sides will clash in the first semifinal of this edition and the hosts would love to banish the memories of defeat in front of a boisterous home crowd at the Premadasa.
A win would keep alive the dream of two Lankan stalwarts - skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara - to end their career with World T20 Cup triumph.
It won't be easy though. Pakistan look quite dangerous. They bounced back gallantly after being ground to dust by India, outclassing Australia through a steady batting effort and a fantastic display of spin bowling, on Tuesday. Pakistan performed under immense pressure and showed that they can lift their game when necessary.
Like always, Pakistan's bowling is their biggest strength, while batting continues to be suspect. However, it is not pace but spin that is their biggest weapon now. In Saeed Ajmal, skipper Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and newcomer Raza Hasan, they have a fabulous spin quartet. Pakistan would also feel encouraged by their leading seamer, Umar Gul, who showed signs of returning to his best form.
With the openers looking short against quality attacks, their batting depends heavily on Nasir Jamshed and the Akmal brothers - Kamran and Umar. Abdul Razzaq's return also adds muscle to the lower-order.
The Lankans have looked quite impressive so far. They won all their matches in the Super Eights, though New Zealand ran them very close till they lost out in the Super Over. The only time they lost was in a seven-over shoot-out against South Africa in the league stage, for which it would be unfair to blame them.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene has led from the front, opening the innings and topping the batting charts in the team with 168 email@example.com under his belt. Kumar Sangakkara has always done well against the Pakistan attack. His unbeaten 64 went in vain in the 2009 T20 WC final.
Tillakaratne Dilshan's 76-run knock against the Kiwis has been his best knock so far in the tournament, but he is capable of doing better. In Jeevan Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara, the Lankans have a fine battery of all-rounders who can keep Lanka's challenge alive till the very last.
It is the Lankan bowling, though, which should be the hosts' big hope. Lasith Malinga, has burst back into top form with a five-wicket haul against England.
His toe crushers are the biggest trump card for this team. Ajantha Mendis warmed up for the event taking six for eight against Zimbabwe, but has somehow not been consistent since. His spin partner, Akila Dananjaya, could be the surprise factor against Pakistan.
Ironically, it is the Lankans who would miss a bit of the home advantage at the Premadasa, as this would be their first game at this venue in this event. Pakistan, who played three Super Eights games here, must now be familiar with the conditions.
It's a contest between familiar foes but a game that can swing either way. Pakistan have just hit their peak while the Lankans just have to keep up the good work.