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Sangakkara wary of unpredictable Pakistan


Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara believes Pakistan`s major asset ahead of Sunday`s World Twenty20 final is their penchant for unpredictability.

Sri Lanka have won all six matches en route to the tournament climax here at Lord`s whereas Pakistan, whom they defeated in the Super Eights, have lost twice.

But Pakistan also beat favourites South Africa by seven runs in Thursday`s first semi-final and Sangakkara, speaking to reporters at Lord`s here on Saturday, said: "They`ve probably learnt a few things along the way.”

"They`ve always been a competitive side, temperamental, but you are always wary when you play against them," the wicket-keeper/batsman added.

"I think batting, their bowling and even with their fielding, they`ve got match-winners in almost every department.”

"The greatest challenge they present is the fact they are unpredictable. Hopefully, we`ll have enough strength to tie them down when need be."

Sri Lanka`s side on Sunday is set to feature two survivors from the team that beat Australia in the 1996 50-over World Cup final in Lahore in opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Sangakkara, who played in the Sri Lanka team that lost the 2007 World Cup final to Australia in Barbados, was in no doubt what another triumph in a major global tournament would mean to the islanders.

"A World Cup is a World Cup, isn`t it?," he said. "We have guys in the team who`ve already tasted that victory and they`ve always told us there`s no feeling like that."

It was in Lahore, the scene of one of their greatest cricket triumph, that Sri Lanka were caught up in the tragedy of an armed attack on their team bus as they travelled to a Test match on March 3 that left six policemen and two civilians killed, plus seven Lankan squad members injured.

This final also comes shortly after the end of Sri Lanka`s protracted civil war but Sangakkara said it was important off-field feelings did not distract the team from the task at hand.

"We`ve had a war, yes, but as a team, as a country, we`ve always stood united in almost everything we`ve done. This win (were we to achieve it) would be another step forward in that progress.”

"Our team, what we represent is the entirety of Sri Lanka.”

"Hopefully, there`ll not be much emotion. I think we`ve got to control that part if we want to be mentally strong enough to do what we have to do tomorrow (Sunday). I think the guys have moved on very well from where we were just after Lahore."

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who thrashed the West Indies by 57 runs in Friday`s second semi-final at the Oval, were expected to name unchanged sides.

But Sri Lanka were given a scare during Saturday`s practice session at Lord`s when spin star Ajantha Mendis needed treatment for an injury on his bowling hand.

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