Semi-Final: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 – 2012

Oct 7, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Sports Buzz

A thing which starts must end too. A brilliant start by Team Pakistan comes to an unfortunate end. The team that took a positive start since the beginning of the ICC World Twenty20 had failed to prove itself in the Big Game. The semi-final against Sri Lanka was the last one for Team Pakistan but the fact remains the same. One team has to lose, and one team has to win. Sri Lanka was a better team having an edge of playing at the home ground. Team Pakistan fought till the end but, unfortunately, failed to handle pressure in difficult circumstances. They won’t be fully blamed for the loss due to the fact that it’s not just the team’s performance that matters but every single thing on-field, including the pitch conditions, the toss and most of all the umpire’s decisions.

[Pakistan huddle before taking the field, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 4, 2012]

Sri Lanka v Pakistan - ICC World Twenty20 2012 Semi Final

Two Big Games, Two semi-finals were held in Colombo Premadasa Stadium which consisted the pitch that was dried. The pitch was a gift for the spinners but at the same time, tough for the batsmen. Each and every decision of the skippers in the big game mattered starting from the toss. The side batting first was to have an edge due to fact that the team batting second would receive even a slower pitch. Mahela Jayewardene being smart enough won the toss, and chose to bat first. The Pakistani skipper M. Hafeez when asked, had the same desire to bat first, put as much total as they can on the board and then defend it. Keeping in mind the bowling attack of both the teams having high quality spinners included Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez from Pakistan, and Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath from Sri Lanka.

From the start of the game the Sri Lanka looked under pressure but quite positive. For the Pakistanis, it was a 50-50 experience. Restricting Sri Lanka to 139 was well below the par score and the Captain Mohammad Hafeez was quite satisfied by his bowlers as it was achievable but superior bowling exposed Pakistan’s batting. The question is from the start of the tournament, Pakistani batting has not disappointed us. Whether it be the warm-up game between India and Pakistan or the Group matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh. It was the same team in the game. So what is to be blamed? The powdery pitch or the lack of confidence to chase a not so difficult total.

The Sri Lankan batting line up also took its time in settling down.  Reading the pitch carefully, Mahela Jayewardene was positive in playing a brilliant knock of 42 runs from 36 deliveries until he was caught by Raza Hasan of Shahid Afridi. Tillakaratne Dilshan was rather confused and unconvincing as he was unable to read Pakistani spin and eventually was caught leg before wicket through Gul’s pace attack contributing 35 runs off 43 deliveries. Kumar Sangakarra came in a positive attacking mood and scored 18 runs of 11 balls before being caught by Shoaib Malik of Mohammad Hafeez. Eventually they were four down and scored 139, making 140 for Pakistan to chase.

[Shahid Afridi celebrates Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 4, 2012]

Shahid Afridi ICC Twenty20 2012

A positive start was what was required from the openers Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez. Imran started off in an attacking mood bringing quick runs on the score board while Mohammad Hafeez had an unconvincing start scoring on 3 runs of 15 deliveries. Hafeez has to come down now. In twenty20 we need explosions in the first 6-overs. Big hits, sixes and fours are required so that a handsome number of runs are scored the first 6 overs. Hafeez takes time to settle down on the pitch. This can be the requirement in ODIs but not in T20s. However he soon began to take hold of the things, regained his confidence and tried to retain his strike when all of sudden Pakistan began to lose wickets.

Imran Nazir cannot play straight. He has to play his natural game. In trying to defend himself, he was caught leg before wicket and bowled. The next batsmen in Nasir Jamshed who is one of the most consistent batsmen currently had to witness only a cameo when he was caught LBW through an unfair and wrong by the Umpire Rod Tucker. His dismissal was actually the turning point of the match. Because the middle order was dented by Mendis, Mathews and Herath. Reckless and clueless shots were played by Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi that costed them their wickets. Akmal was caught in mid-wicket playing recklessly on second ball of his innings while Afridi was bowled on the first ball by Herath. Mohammad Hafeez maintaining strike till the 15th over was the last hope for the Pakistani fans as he was 3 of 15 balls but 42 of 39 in the 15th over. He was playing smartly until he was stumped while trying to get down the track and hit for a six. This was another careless misjudgment as all the hopes were left on Shahid Afridi who failed to connect properly and got dismissed on the very next ball. Things were absolutely out of Pakistan’s hand as Umar Akmal tried his level best to chase the remaining target. The batsman was unlucky by that time as he failed to correctly time the ball. The ball wasn’t coming on the bat properly making the batsmen suffer.

[Shahid Afridi was bowled first ball by Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 4, 2012]

Shahid Afridi ICC Twenty20 2012

[Rangana Herath took 3 for 25, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 4, 2012]

Rangana Herath ICC Twenty20 2012

Pakistan failed to chase the target in 20 overs losing the game by 16-runs, packing their bags for Pakistan. The weak batting line-up might not be fully blamed as the powdery pitch was never ready to favor the team batting second.

The fact remains that it wasn’t Pakistan’s day. Sri Lankans played better cricket. They were energetic and fully experienced. Pakistan, on the other hand, fought till the end.

[Mahela Jayawardene and Mohammad Hafeez shake hands, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 4, 2012]

Mohammad Hafeez (L) and Mahela Jayawardene (R) ICC Twenty20 2012

Images Source: ESPN cricinfo. All photography rights are reserved to original photographers. Photographs are only used for the purpose of illustration and do not in any way belong to Youth Correspondent or its derivatives.

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A crazy cricket fan in all the three formats. A patriotic Team Green Supporter and a fully biased Afridi and Hafeez fan.

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