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.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone