Sri Lanka captain rues loss of crucial wickets

February 27, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said the loss of Mahela Jayawardene and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan at a crucial stage of the match against Pakistan was a key factor in his team’s defeat. Pakistan held their nerve to record a narrow 11-run win over the fancied home team in Colombo, leaving a sell-out crowd of 35,000 at R. Premadasa stadium bitterly disappointed.

Sri Lanka, chasing a target of 278 runs to win the match were cruising at 76-0 before losing four wickets in the space of 20 runs, with Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi taking two and paceman Shoaib Akhtar one.

“Afridi bowled well,” said Sangakkara. “But Shoaib (Akhtar) getting Mahela and Afridi getting Dilshan was critical. That gave them the momentum and unfortunately that turned the match in their favour.”

Jayawardene, who made a polished century in Sri Lanka’s convincing 210-run win against Canada in their opening match, scored just two, while Dilshan departed after making 41.

Afridi finished with 4-34, also reaching the milestone of 300 ODI wickets during the match, while Akhtar grabbed 2-42.

Sri Lanka had bowled with discipline at the end of the Pakistan innings to restrict them to 277-7 after Misbah-u