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Sri Lanka elect to bat against Pakistan

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and chose to bat against Pakistan in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup at Lord's on Sunday.

Pakistan, who lost the Cup by a whisker to India in the inaugural edition in South Africa, have played little international cricket since then because of political turmoil back home and would be eager to win the honour in a bid to bring the sport back on track in their country.

But captain Younis Khan is aware that the job at hand is not at all an easy one as primarily his team has not been a consistent side in the tournament so far and secondly Sri Lanka go into the final with a clean slate.

The ease with which Kumara Sangakkara's men thrashed the West Indies in Friday's semi-final at the Oval should also be a matter of concern for Younis Khan.

Pakistan have called up ex-ICL player Abdul Razzaq as a replacement for an injured Yasir Arafat and his presence, strengthens the side as the all-rounder is a hard-hitting batsman and a bowler with decent pace.

Return of another all-rounder Shahid Afridi to form just at the right time with a 34-ball 51 in their semi-final against South Africa is also a good news for Pakistan, who would not want to be on the losing side for third time in a World Cup.

Pakistan lost to Steve Waugh's Australia in the 1999 ODI World Cup final at the same venue while in 2007 they were deprived of the Cup by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's young India.

Revenge will also be on the mind of Younis on Sunday as they were handed a 19-run defeat by the islanders in their Super Eight match on June 12.

Pakistan will need to overcome their weak points such as poor starts and inability to finish off the close matches, apart from working on their pedestrian batting and focus on their fielding, to realise their dream.

Kamran Akmal at the top of the innings, Afridi and pacer Umar Gul could be the key players for Pakistan.

Sri Lanka after their comfortable victory over the West Indies would be looking to continue the momentum in the final.

Sri Lanka's chances will depend a lot on the opening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan but unheralded pacer Angelo Mathews and mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis can also bamboozle Pakistan.

Sangakkara's strategy to deny his opponents a good start and tame them in the Powerplay may very well work in his team's favour.

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