Bringing it home
Athers says Pakistan were too brittle to get past the hosts
Last Updated: 04/10/12 6:44pm
Sri Lanka: one game from glory
Michael Atherton expects Sri Lanka to win the ICC World Twenty20 Final after their impressive display against Pakistan.
"They look a good all-round side. I thought the winners of tonight's game would probably go on and win the tournament."
Michael Atherton Quotes of the week
The tournament hosts will face either West Indies or Australia in Sunday's showpiece after a 16-run semi-final victory, in which they appeared more comfortable than their opponents in the Colombo conditions.
Spinners Rangana Herath (3-25) and Ajantha Mendis (2-27) ensured Pakistan's run chase finished short and Atherton also highlighted the batting of captain Mahela Jayawardene (42 from 36 balls) as he predicted that Sri Lanka would lift the trophy on their home soil.
"In this tournament we've seen the pitches getting drier and more susceptible to spin, so once they got 140 they must have been pretty confident of defending that," he told Sky Sports.
"They look a good all-round side. I thought the winners of tonight's game would probably go on and win the tournament.
"Sri Lanka look like worthy favourites at the moment. They've got no weak links in their side. When you look at Pakistan you'd say they're probably a bit too brittle, at times, in the batting department and that proved to be so tonight.
"Jayawardene played beautifully at the start and he's a very lucky man to have a wonderfully varied attack. He has the likes of Malinga and then the spinners at his disposal. Herath was a good selection choice with three wickets for him and five for the Sri Lankan spinners all told.
"In the end, the brittleness of the Pakistan batting wasn't enough to take them through to the final. I thought Pakistan were a terrific bowling side, but I didn't think their batting was quite good enough to take them all the way."
Pakistan star Shahid Afridi was a significant scalp for Herath, falling for a first-ball duck as Pakistan struggled to keep up with the run-rate.
And fellow Sky Sports pundit David Lloyd felt they would have needed a perfect performance to win the match after losing the toss on a difficult pitch.
He said: "It was so important to win the toss, bat first and get runs on the board. 140 on a pitch like that was always going to be a bit demanding.
"It was near-perfect. To win the toss and get to 139 on that surface, which was difficult as we saw in the women's game beforehand, meant Pakistan couldn't make mistakes.
"It was absolutely down to them to get a perfect performance and they were slightly off the pace.
"Boom Boom Afridi, the big hitter, just can't buy a run."