Sri Lanka v Pakistan: Unlucky ground to spoil Sri Lankan party

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Pakistan’s thumping of Australia last time out was their fourth victory in five and ensured them a semi-final berth against tournament hosts and favourites, Sri Lanka.

Momentum is on the side of Mohammed Hafeez’s men after this dramatic win and they can be backed at 11/10 to upstage their adversaries from across the Indian Ocean at the Premadasa.

Sri Lanka’s wretched form on this ground doesn’t bode well for their chances – they’ve suffered defeat in all of their four T20’s here. Pakistan have also come out on top in four of the last five renewals between the two in this format, Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi stepping up with three half tons in that period.

The key battle in this clash this time, however, will be fought out between the spin bowlers.

Pakistan’s slow bowling bogged the Aussies down last time and they will look to do the same to Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan here.

Saeed Ajmal has taken seven wickets in his last five against this batting line-up and, as the focal point of Pakistan’s attack, he will be expected to frustrate Sri Lanka’s big hitters into making mistakes. He’s 11/8 to pick up more than 1.5 wickets in this one.

The hosts’ answer to Ajmal’s off-break is the prolific Ajantha Mendis, who has taken nine wickets in just four innings this tournament.

Ladbrokes can’t decide which of the pair will do the most damage in this one, pricing both at 11/8 to outscore the other in the wicket-taking department, whereas Mendis is a 6/4 shot to take two or more scalps in the game.

These two are probably the strongest of the four semi-finalists, so the winner here will have a great chance of going on to lift the trophy. This highlights the magnitude of this contest at hand – the bowler who comes out on top will be putting his side in pole position for World T20 glory.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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