War-scarred Sri Lanka is all set for delirious celebrations after the country’s cricketers lifted their first world title in 18 years, beating India in the World Twenty20 final clash in Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka defeated India by six wickets in the summit clash to lift their World Cup title after the 1996 ODI trophy.
A congratulating media hailed the win as a “fitting farewell” to former skippers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who called time on their Twenty20 careers. (Also Read: ‘Lanka will be a force to reckon with at the 2015 World Cup’)
The team is due to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse upon arriving in the country. The players, who were locked in a contractual dispute with Sri Lanka Cricket for some time, are expected to get a heroes’ welcome on returning home.
The Daily Mirror said the triumph was ideal send off to Sangakkara and Jayawardene. “Sangakkara and Jayawardene ended their T20 international careers with a dream script, playing the team’s best two innings as Sri Lanka ended their world title drought in style,” the paper said.
Rajapakse, who called the team’s players after the triumph, did not visit Bangladesh to see the final and many observers of the game felt it ended up being good for the team’s players. Rajapakse was in the stands when the team lost the last World T20 tournament and the final of the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.
“Given bad omens of the past, Lankan fans wished President Mahinda Rajapakse to watch the hot final from Sri Lanka (rather) than from Mirpur, Bangladesh,” Daily FT paper said. “Thankfully, the president was busy opening a five-star hotel outside Colombo,” the paper said.
Sanga-mahela swan song
Meanwhile, having ended their Twenty20 International career on a triumphant note, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene on Monday expressed their delight at finally winning a world title. “Proud to be a part of this team and proud to have played alongside Maiya for so long. 14 years and to win the WC together. Can’t ask fr more (sic),” Sangakkara, who played a pivotal role in the summit clash with an unbeaten half-century, tweeted.
India’s quest for a historic treble ended in heartbreak last night as a gutsy Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to win their maiden ICC World T20 trophy, the triumph also attracting accolades from Virat Kohli and A B de Villiers among others.
Kohli tweeted: “Good tournament. Back home. All the best to the SL legends Kumar and Mahela for the future!”
It was appropriate that Sangakkara was there in the middle when Sri Lanka hit the winning runs. “what a night! No words to express all the emotions. Thank you to all the fans, family, friends and team. Finally a world cup win. Amazing,” Sangakkara said.
Jayawardene got a start but could not carry on, falling for 24. “Now that it’s finally ours, don’t want to let it go ????,” Jayawardene wrote on his twitter handle. “Wouldn’t want to end it with any other person! What an innings last night @KumarSanga2 ..this is for all the fans!”
Dhoni is dream-team leader
His side may have lost in the final and MS Dhoni may have missed his opportunity to hold all three ICC majors (World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20) at the same time, but the India captain was named the captain of the World T20 2014’s dream team by the ICC on Monday.
Apart from Dhoni, the team features three other Indians in Virat Kohli, the tournament’s highest run-getter, Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Kohli was adjudged Player of the Tournament for amassing 319 runs with the help of four half centuries, including knocks of 72 and 77 in the semifinal and final of the showpiece event.
Besides the Indians, the team has two players from both South Africa and West Indies, and one representative each from Australia and the Netherlands. Ironcially, Sri Lanka, the side that went one better than anyone else in the event, has only one representative in the best team in captain Lasith Malinga.
Chosen by a select group of experts, the team was aimed at being suited for Bangladesh conditions, on the basis of performances in the tournament only. Statistics were used but were not the sole basis for selections.
Selection Panel chairman and member of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, David Boon, said of the selection: “It was a very difficult task for the panel to pick a team of 11 from the exciting players who featured in this tournament.
World T20 XI: Rohit Sharma (Ind, 200 runs), Stephan Myburgh (Ned, 224 runs), Virat Kohli (Ind, 319 runs), JP Duminy (SA, 187 runs), Glenn Maxwell (Aus, 147 runs), MS Dhoni (Ind, 50 runs, six dismissals) (C/WK), Darren Sammy (WI, 101 runs), R Ashwin (Ind, 11 wickets), Dale Steyn (SA, 9 wickets), Samuel Badree (WI, 11 wickets), Lasith Malinga (SL, 5 wickets)