Pakistan, Sri Lanka contesting World T20 final today
|LONDON: Pakistan and Sri Lanka will contest the World Twenty20 final at Lord's today.
Pakistan, who beat favourites South Africa by seven runs in Thursday's semi-final, have bounced back in style at this tournament.
They will face unbeaten Sri Lanka in the final after their Asian rivals thrashed the West Indies by 57 runs at the Oval on Friday.
Despite the events in Lahore, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said relations between the two sides had remained friendly.
"What Lahore really brought home to us was we are just the same as anyone else," he said.
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 19 runs in a Super Eights match earlier at this tournament but Sangakkara said: "We've played Pakistan many times before but in T20 you must take every game in isolation. Different players come into form at different times.
"Hopefully, we can put in a good performance and walk away with a trophy."
The dangerous Shahid Afridi produced a brilliant all-round display in Pakistan's semi-final triumph, scoring 51 and then taking two wickets for 16 runs with his leg-spinners.
"He is a guy who can take the game away in few overs, but we can't just concentrate on him," said Sangakkara.
In Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, Sangakkara has two star spinners of his own although Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal should not be disregarded.
"Mendis, the way he's bowled in the middle overs had been a charm," Sangakkara said. "Even Pakistan watch him closely, they know he can get their wickets."
Sri Lanka's semi-final victory was built on a brilliant innings from Tillekaratne Dilshan, the leading scorer at the tournament with 317 runs, who carried his bat for 96 not out in a total of 158 for five.
Then came a sensational first over in the West Indies' reply, which saw seam bowler Angelo Mathews take three wickets as Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo all played on for ducks.
Chris Gayle made 63 not out but none of the West Indies captain's colleagues could stay with the left-handed opener long enough to mount a serious chase as Sri Lanka won with 14 balls to spare.
Dilshan decided not to employ the 'Dilscoop' shot where he flicks the ball over the wicket-keeper's head and settled for more orthodox strokes.
"Now we've one more match, hopefully I can stay strong. I think I'll keep the paddle for the final," Dilshan explained.
Sangakkara, who said he expected something special from veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya in the final, added: "I have run out of superlatives for Dilshan. He is a pioneer stroke-maker in Twenty20.
"The best thing is that he understands his role and has become very responsible and mature. He has finally understood how good he is."
And as for Mathews, the captain said: "It's Mathews's first major international tour and you can't ask for much more than three wickets in the first over.
"Now we will take this confidence into the final against Pakistan."
Pakistan, who lost by just five runs to arch-rivals India in the inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg, are desperate to go one better this time.
The dark horses of this tournament, they have justified veteran coach Intikhab Alam's belief that they would be at their best when it mattered most.
"We want to make people back home happy," Pakistan captain Younus Khan said. "Winning the title will mean a lot to them and that will inspire us in the final. One more game and the World Cup will be ours."
West Indies captain Chris Gayle said: "You couldn't ask for a better final, they are two quality teams."
Tags: World Twenty20 Final , Lord's , Younis Khan , Sanath Jaysuria , Dilshan , Shahid Afridi , Misbah , Sangakara , Saeed Ajmal , Umar Gul
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