ICC World Twenty20: Sri Lanka and Pakistan say there is more to their clash than spin
Last Updated: 03/10/12 4:55pm
Mahela Jayawardene: Believes an all-round team performance is needed for victory
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez have played down the hype around their respective spinners ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final.
The two sides will go head-to-head on Thursday in the first of the tournament's last-four clashes and much the pre-match talk is already centring on Ajantha Mendis and Saeed Ajmal.
Both bowlers have been in prolific form so far, with Mendis taking nine wickets for Sri Lanka and Ajmal claiming eight for Pakistan, but Jayawardene says the contest will be about more than a battle between the two star spinners.
"We have played each other quite frequently and it's been a good contest. They've got some quality spinners but we just need to make sure that we execute our things well against them," he said.
"Both Ajmal and Mendis have shown how good they are in this competition. It's going to be a big game for everybody, not just for those two guys. It's a huge game for both sides."
Pakistan bowled 18 overs of spin during their 32-run win over Australia on Tuesday as Ajmal emjoyed a supporting cast of Shahid Afridi, Raza Hasan and Hafeez.
"We are blessed with world-class spinners but I think we have to play good all-round cricket to win the semi-final and we will look for that once we enter the field," Hafeez said.
"Sri Lanka is playing good cricket and I am happy the way we have played so far and hope that we keep the intentions positive."
The match is a repeat of the 2009 final in which Pakistan took the title, but host nation Sri Lanka will this time go into the clash as marginal favourites.
Jayawardene is not getting carried away with thoughts of a tournament victory on home soil, however, and insists his side are focused on Pakistan.
He said: "We need to get to the final first before thinking of the title. We may not have won too many finals but getting there itself shows that we have played consistent cricket."
Sri Lanka will enjoy the support of a partisan crowd in Colombo but Hafeez is adamant that will not faze Pakistan.
"We have been playing our cricket away from home, so we are quite used to of it and I think the Sri Lankan crowd is sensible enough to support good cricket from both the teams. It will surely be a good contest," Hafeez said.