Preview, Semi Final: Pakistan spin’s real Test against Sri Lanka
By CricLens Staff Report on October 3rd, 2012

Pakistan spinners bowled as much as 18 overs in their previous match, effectively a Quarter Final, against Australia on Tuesday. If that move is anything to go by, it tells how overly they are relying on their spinners. Their bowlers’ rare failure came at the hand of the two subcontinent teams India and Bangladesh for they are adept in tackling the spin.

Then Pakistan’s both the wins in the Super Eight have also come on strength of their spinners but if it gives them any edge it will be blunt by the fact that Sri lankans, whom Pakistan face in first Semi Final of World Twenty20 2012 on Thursday, are as adept to play spin as any other batting team of world.

By the knowledge that both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have played two bilateral series (6 Tests, 10 One Days, 3 Twenty20s) in last one year, most of their tactics and players would be exposed to each other and both the teams could get benefited from all this experience. In addition to that Pakistan players were also part of the recently concluded Sri Lanka T20 Premier League.

One department where Pakistan will hold advantage tomorrow is they will be playing at the same venue – Colombo RPS – for the fourth consecutive time whereas Sri Lanka, albeit its their home ground, play there for the first time in this event. Last year both the teams locked horns at this venue in 50-over World Cup where Pakistan prevailed as the home struggled to play spin of Shahid Afridi.

Raza Hassan, one of the emerging stars and the most economical bowler of this tournament, hasn’t yet played a game against Sri Lanka, nor he was in SLPL, so he is the only bowler who is not exposed to the opposition. But knowing how well Sri Lanka play spin, Hassan will be having one of his toughest outings tomorrow.

Final of World Twenty20 2009 will be on mind of both the teams. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka, who were then the unbeaten team of the tournament. This time, in Semi Final, Sri Lankas are again ‘almost’ unbeaten, for they did not lose any game in the Super Eight, and only one they lost in Group Stage was a match reduced to 7 overs.

Watch out for Pakistan vs Akila Dananjaya

Sri Lanka have kept their idiosyncrasy of unleashing mystic bowlers. Pakistan will be up against for the first time against Akila Dananjaya, a bowler whose versatility gives him off-spin, leg-spin, googly, carom ball et al. But Pakistan were arguably the best team to play Ajantha Mendis when he was unleashed some 4 years ago. Mendis went wicket-less in 2 matches of World T20 2009 against Pakistan despite having 12 wickets in five other matches from the tournament. If Pakistan batsmen can decipher the mystery of Dananjaya would be unveiled tomorrow.

X-Factor

Shahid Afridi may have been going through an indifferent patch of his career. In the past, whenever he needed to hit form, he was put up against Sri Lanka. Three out of his 7 Man of the match Awards and three out of his 4 Twenty20 fifties have come against them. In addition to that he has 11 wickets at economy rate of under 5.00 in 34 overs he bowled against Sri Lanka in T20 internationals.Last time when Afridi gave an overwhelming performance and won Pakistan a match single-handedly it was also against Sri Lanka some four months ago at Hambantota.

Pakistan is the opposition, Kumar Sangakkara has always enjoyed playing against. Even though his Twenty0 record against them is not as overwhelming as his Test record but in World T20 Final 2009, when whole of their batting collapsed, Sangakkra still managed unbeaten 64 out of total of 138.

Stats and Trivia

In head to head clashes, Pakistan hold edge over Sri Lanka by 6-3 in nine Twenty20 matches they have played.

In World Twenty20s, both the teams have played thrice with Pakistan winning 2 and Sri Lanka 1.

8 times Sri Lanka have been made to chase target in Twenty20s at their home and only once they chased it successfully, last week against West Indies in Super Eight match.

Sri Lanka have never won a Twenty20 at Colombo (RPS), 4 times they played there.



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