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Oct 05, 2012 at 04:59pm IST

It is a huge thing says Mahela

Colombo: A place in the final of the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 in home ground "means a great deal" for the cricket fans of the country, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said on Thursday after the hosts beat Pakistan in the first semi-final here.

"It (place in the final) means a great deal, thanks to the fans," he said after Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by 16 runs at the R Premeadasa Stadium.

In a brave move, Sri Lanka on Thursday brought in left-arm spinner Rengana Herath in place of off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and the skipper termed the decision as a tactical change.

A place in WC final means a great deal for us: Mahela

SL fans are overjoyed as the home team reaches the final.

"It was a tough call keeping out birthday boy Dananjaya but we knew Pakistan were weak against left-arm spin," said Jayawardene, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 38-ball 42 and leadership qualities.

Opting to bat Sri Lanka made a modest 139 for four in their 20 overs and Jayawardene he felt they were a few runs short.

"We felt we were 15 short and 140 was a par score. We made mistakes in the field but it didn't cost us," he said.

Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez said a middle-order collapse put paid to their hopes of a win. "Every person gave 100 per cent. Jamshed and Raza have been the positives for us in this tournament. We were much in the game but the middle-order collapsed," he said.

"I thank the fans who came here to support us. We really wanted to do something for them," Hafeez added.

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