Mahela Jayawardene said his team was confident of its chances despite posting a below-par total.

“Against a team like Pakistan, you got to stay positive and getting regular wickets was the key. I thought 140 would be a par score but we were 15 to 20 runs short considering the way we started, but credit to Pakistan and especially Umar Gul for the way they pulled things back,” said the Sri Lankan captain.

The host skipper lauded his bowlers for delivering in a crunch game. “On a pitch like this you have to bowl straight and our pacers kept it steady in the first five overs and then the spinners came on.

“I picked Rangana Herath for this game because Pakistan has a history (of not doing well) against left-arm spinners. It was a tough choice as it was also Akila Dhananjaya’s birthday today [Thursday]. You should have seen his face when I broke the news (of dropping him). In the end, it worked for us,” Jayawardene said.

He added that it was an honour for him and the team to compete in its fourth World Cup final (2007 and 2011 World Cups, and the 2009 ICC World Twenty20).

Meanwhile, Mohammad Hafeez said that the middle-order collapse affected Pakistan’s chase. “We knew that on this pitch where the ball stopped a bit, the spinners will come into play. Unfortunately, the middle-order failed. I am still proud of the team and the way it fought in this tournament,” said the Pakistan captain, who also backed the woefully out-of-form Shahid Afridi. “To me, he is always a match-winner.”


Sri Lanka just a match away from gloryOctober 5, 2012

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