Dilshan's quality keeps Sri Lanka soaring

Sri Lanka 150/7 Pakistan 131/9

There is no stopping Sri Lanka. Having knocked out Australia and beaten West Indies to finish top of their World Twenty20 group, they kept up the good work at Lord's yesterday – shrugging off a batting stutter to put Pakistan in their place with a victory that was comfortable enough in the end.

While South Africa and India started this tournament as many people's joint favourites, Sri Lanka are gaining supporters. Now they are off and running in the Super Eights and a win against Ireland tomorrow should see them safely into the semi-finals.

The only disappointment for Kumar Sangakkara was that his team had to wait until deep into Pakistan's innings to be sure of success after totalling an ultimately disappointing 150 for seven. At one stage, they looked set to power towards 200 but came unstuck against a trio of spinners. "I wouldn't say it was a complete performance but I'm very pleased with the result and delighted with the way our guys bowled and fielded," said the captain.

"We probably should have got to 175 and that would have given us a more comfortable win. We needed a few more partnerships in the middle."

Sri Lanka seem to have everything a team needs to triumph at Twenty20 – a perfect opening partnership in Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, enough batting down the order, a couple of mystery spinners called Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis and a brilliant fast bowler by the name of Lasith Malinga.

This time, though, the biggest contribution to their cause came from the opposition. Opening bowler Sohail Tanvir had a nightmare at the start, needing 20 deliveries to complete two overs that were littered with wides and no-balls and cost him 29 runs. The only real danger to Dilshan and Jayasuriya was they would lose concentration and miss a rare straight one.

Sri Lanka's fans need not have worried. Dilshan, especially, looked in wonderful touch, producing two of his amazing, scoop-over-the-keeper shots against the pace of Mohammad Aamer and Umer Gul. But, all of a sudden, life became much more difficult once spinners Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik entered the attack – so much so that an opening stand of 81 in nine overs failed to develop into something spectacular.

Dilshan just missed out on a third consecutive half-century, Afridi struck twice in six balls to remove both openers and boundaries dried up to such an extent that Sri Lanka had to scrap their way to respectability. So game on? Well, it might have been if Pakistan had not started almost as badly with the bat as they had done with the ball.

Angelo Mathews bowled Salman Butt through the gate, Malinga fooled Malik with a slower delivery and the reply slipped to 35 for three when Kamran Akmal was run out.

For once, Murali and Mendis came as a bit of light relief. But, having reached 50, captain Younis Khan was sixth out, top edging a pull against Malinga, and Sri Lanka were home and dry.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain