Stage set for Pakistan spin bowling and Sri Lankan batting to clash in the World Twenty20 Cup first semi-final to be played at the R Premadasa Stadium and who will come triumphant to become the first finalist team of the mega event on Thursday (today). Pakistan vs Sri Lanka will be a straight shootout and a classic battle between equals, with similar strengths and approaches. Against other teams, Sri Lanka started as the favourites but everyone knows that unpredictable Pakistan aren’t like other teams. Pakistan is the first team that entered the semi-finals fourth time but won the title once and failed to make it to final in the previous two semi-finals and time will tell that will they succeed to make it to the final fourth time or otherwise? Pakistan confidence is high after the big win over Australia and a supremely talented Pakistan will come out all guns blazing against hosts Sri Lanka. It will be a battle of attrition between the two sides who had met in the final of the 2009 edition of the tournament in England where Pakistan emerged victorious.Sri Lanka have little edge of home ground and crowd and will surely be under pressure for victory in the match and pressure might upstage them. On paper, Saeed Ajmal shouldn’t be as big a factor against Sri Lanka as against teams from outside the subcontinent, but there is a very little place for theory in international cricket, and especially in Twenty20 cricket. Sri Lanka have their own mystery spinners in Ajantha Mendis and Akila Dananjaya, but they will approach Ajmal with respect, if not caution. Sri Lanka will also be wary of the threat Raza Hasan poses with his left-arm spin that has had most teams in a bind. The scene is entirely different this time around as Hafeez and his boys will be facing a formidable Sri Lankan in their own backyard. The crucial event will be a tough test for either side as the two teams go all out to win the match to enter the mega event’s final. Leniency can cause trouble for both the outfits in the last four stage match, Pakistan have played five matches so far and lost only to India which hurt most of Pakistani fans while Sri Lanka have only lost to South Africa in a rain-hit seven-over match. The spin has been the strength of both sides while Pakistan have more variety than Sri Lanka  as islanders heavily depend on Mendis’ and his mystery delivery mesmerizes teams on his day if he maintains line and length and if he bowled awkwardly then he prove more expensive. Mahela Jayawardene must be under-pressure whether to go with Mendis or to replace him with Rangana Herath as Pakistani play spin very well. Sri Lanka on the other hand have three out of the six batsmen who had crossed the 1000 runs mark in Twenty20 cricket and also having a very good tournament but, one thing they will have to do is to hit those spinners hard. Pakistan may not go for an all spin attack against Sri Lanka but, still they will use most of their spinners. Sri Lanka will look to Dilshan, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Angelo Mathew to prove their credentials and delivery for islanders in a crucial match to remain in contention. Lankans will seek fast bowlers Lasith Malinga, Perera help to fire to restrict Pakistan to a lowest total. Ajmal is world’s best spinner, so it is not a bad idea to play him off rather than going after him, that’s where Lankan batsmen will have to go hard at whoever bowls at the other end. That’s what India did when they beat Pakistan. Sri Lanka should follow the same play with countering like Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and even Shahid Afridi and the 20-year-old Raza Hasan. It is also expected that Pakistan likely to make one change by dropping Imran Nazir and bring in Asad Shafiq to strengthen their batting, as Imran failed to impress with his batting and lusty hitting for which he is popular in the crowd. Pakistan bowling spearhead Umar Gul also off-colour and failed to come up to team’s expectation and struggling for the last six month or so if he can deliver then it will be easy for team to get one step closer to title. Pakistan should open the innings with left and right combination and Hafeez bats at No 3 to control the innings and partnership to put up a decent total on board till the last over. Pakistan team played well in the last Super Eight match against Australia as they outplayed Aussies in all departments of the game and now have to keep momentum going to score victory against Sri Lanka to cruise into final. Unfortunately there were no alternate days for semi-finals and final and if rain interrupted the semi-finals then how ICC would decide about the winner of the game and on which grounds. Pakistan must prepare strategy and game plan to combat the Sri Lanka fast and spin bowlers and play sensible game as they played against Australia and build partnership to post a defendable total on the board. The nation are praying for Pakistan World Twenty20 Cup title victory and Insha Allah by the grace of Allah Pakistan will be able to win the mega event second time.