Jayawardene delighted with Sri Lanka

Mahela Jayawardene, right, was delighted with Sri Lanka's win over Pakistan

Mahela Jayawardene, right, was delighted with Sri Lanka's win over Pakistan

First published in National Sport News © by

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was on Thursday sampling the "amazing feeling" of leading his country to a home 'World Cup' final.

Jayawardene's team got the better of Pakistan by 16 runs at the Premadasa Stadium, thanks in part to his innings of 42 at the top of the order and the fine spin bowling of Rangana Herath in particular.

"It's an amazing feeling. I'm really proud of the boys," he said.

Pakistan had feasible prospects of chasing 139 for four but lost three wickets for seven runs at one stage, and then two more on the same score, as they bowed out of the ICC World Twenty20 at the semi-final stage for the second time in succession.

While they must therefore fly home, Jayawardene can look forward to Sunday's final - back at the same familiar venue - against either West Indies or Australia.

Jayawardene added: "We had great support out there; they came shouting for us on the field, and it was fantastic. 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."

Jayawardene was wary of falling at the penultimate hurdle, against dangerous opponents.

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

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

"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."

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