Pakistan Falters in T20 Semifinals
By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pakistani cricket team succumbed to the host team, Sri Lanka, in the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 championships. Pakistan lost by 16 runs in a low-scoring semifinal on a slow track. In fact, Sri Lanka managed only a meager 139 for four in the first innings. But the Sri Lankan bowling duo of Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis stifled the Pakistan batsmen in the final overs to restrict them to an even more measly 123 for seven.
Pakistan needed 32 runs from the last three overs which is considered to be quite achievable by Twenty20 standards. But Mendis and Malinga held their nerves giving only five and four runs respectively of the 18th and 19th over. Pakistani batsman Imran Nazir was in form as he made 20 with the help of three fours. However, from 57 for three, Pakistan soon became 64 for four. Eventually Pakistan was teetering at 91 for six, and at that point victory was out of reach.
Pakistanâ€™s bowlers Shahid Afridi, Mohammed Hafeez, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal had bagged a wicket each, and had given up a minimum of runs. Sri Lanka reached 100 at the end of the 15th over but their struggle started after that. Umar Gul, introduced in the 16th over, bowled fast and full to both Dilshan and Mendis to make their life miserable, with SL eventually settling for a less-than-impressive total of 139 runs. But, in the end, it was more than enough for the home squad.
However, Sri Lankaâ€™s luck would run out in the finals, as they lost in the championship round to the West Indies.