World Twenty20: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene delighted with Rangana Herath's semi-final display

Last Updated: 04/10/12 9:40pm

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Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene was full of praise for Rangana Herath after the recalled spinner played a key role in his side's World Twenty20 semi-final win over Pakistan.

The left-armer was preferred to youngster Akila Dananjaya and justified that decision with three wickets as Pakistan went down by 16 runs chasing a target of 140 in Colombo.

"He's been brilliant against Pakistan. He's always tormented them through his career," explained Jayawardene. "We always try to play a left-arm spinner against them.

"He's been brilliant against Pakistan. He's always tormented them through his career. We always try to play a left-arm spinner against them."
Mahela Jayawardene on Rangana Herath

"It was a tough call. It's Akila's birthday today, and he was disappointed when I told him he's not playing - you should see his face. But we thought that the two experienced spinners would carry us through today - and they did the job for us.

"You have to make some tough calls. As I've always said, sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don't."

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez pointed out the toss was important on a typically slow and worn surface, but also gave Sri Lanka due credit.

"On a pitch like that, we also wanted to bat first," he said. "It wasn't difficult to chase that target, but unfortunately we lost some wickets in the middle order.

"Yes, 140 should have been chased - but we couldn't. Sri Lanka played good cricket, and deserved to win the game."

Proud nation

Sri Lanka will take on either Australia or West Indies for the title in Colombo on Sunday.

Jayawardene and team-mate Kumar Sangakkara will be playing in the final of an International Cricket Council global tournament for the fourth time - they have lost the previous three.

"Four finals is amazing," said Jayawardene. "In one career, you'd be lucky to play in one final. But I've been very fortunate we have pushed ourselves to get into those situations."

He added: "We're a proud nation, a proud cricketing nation - and everybody will be behind us on Sunday, so I'm quite looking forward to that.

"In a tournament like this, when you've done quite well, the semi-final is a big game.

"You want to get to that final, and it becomes a huge game - and you'll be disappointed if you don't get through.

"You are up against Pakistan, a very unpredictable side who are very good on their day and can beat anyone.

"There's just one more hurdle for us to cross now."

Akmal fined

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for failing to show due respect to the umpires.

The International Cricket Council said in a statement that Akmal ignored the requests of both on-field umpires and proceeded to change his batting gloves during the 17th over of Pakistan's innings.

Match referee Jeff Crowe said that Akmal showed "blatant disregard" to both Australian umpires Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker which was "offensive and unacceptable from an international cricketer."

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