Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene enjoyed the "amazing feeling" of leading his country to a home 'World Cup' final.
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Jayawardene's team got the better of Pakistan by 16 runs at the Premadasa Stadium, thanks in part to his innings of 42 at the top of the order and the fine spin bowling of Rangana Herath in particular.
Pakistan had feasible prospects of chasing 139 for four but lost three wickets for seven runs at one stage, and then two more on the same score, as they bowed out of the ICC World Twenty20 at the semi-final stage for the second time in succession.
While they must therefore fly home, Jayawardene can look forward to Sunday's final - back at the same familiar venue - against either West Indies or Australia.
"It's an amazing feeling. I'm really proud of the boys," he said. "We had great support out there; they came shouting for us on the field, and it was fantastic.
"We're a proud nation, a proud cricketing nation - and everybody will be behind us on Sunday, so I'm quite looking forward to that."
Jayawardene was wary of falling at the penultimate hurdle, against dangerous opponents.
"In a tournament like this, when you've done quite well, the semi-final is a big game," he said.
"You want to get to that final, and it becomes a huge game - and you'll be disappointed if you don't get through.
"You are up against Pakistan, a very unpredictable side who are very good on their day and can beat anyone. There's just one more hurdle for us to cross now."
For Jayawardene, and his great friend and team-mate Kumar Sangakkara, Sunday will be a fourth appearance in an International Cricket Council global tournament.
They have lost the previous three, but Jayawardene nonetheless already has an outstanding CV.
"Four finals is amazing," he said. "In one career, you'd be lucky to play in one final. But I've been very fortunate we have pushed ourselves to get into those situations."
Herath (three for 25) was brought back into the team - at the expense of teenage off-spinner Akila Dananjaya - specifically because Pakistan were the opposition and he did not disappoint.
"He's been brilliant against Pakistan. He's always tormented them through his career," said Jayawardene.
"We always try to play a left-arm spinner against them. It was a tough call. It's Akila's birthday today, and he was disappointed when I told him he's not playing - you should see his face.
"But we thought that the two experienced spinners would carry us through today - and they did the job for us.
"You have to make some tough calls. As I've always said, sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don't."
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez pointed out the toss was important on a typically slow and worn surface but gave Sri Lanka due credit too.
"On a pitch like that, we also wanted to bat first," he said.
"It wasn't difficult to chase that target, but unfortunately we lost some wickets in the middle order.
"Yes, 140 should have been chased - but we couldn't. Sri Lanka played good cricket, and deserved to win the game."