India’s quest for a historic treble ended in heartbreak as a gutsy Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to win their maiden ICC World T20 trophy with a convincing six-wicket victory on Sunday.
Sri Lanka thus became third time lucky in the World T20 summit clash while Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dream to win a record third World title lay in tatters as his team faltered when it mattered the most.
Despite Virat Kohli’s belligerent 77, Yuvraj Singh’s excruciatingly slow innings of 11 off 21 balls left India with a very modest score 130 for four in 20 overs. Kohli’s brilliance went down the drain due to Yuvraj’s struggle. (Captain’s Corner: Sri Lanka executed their plans brilliantly in last four, says Dhoni)
Sri Lanka faced a few anxious moments in the early stages of the chase but eventually overhauled the target with 13 balls to spare.
It turned out to be a ‘fitting finale’ for the two retiring legends of Sri Lankan cricket as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara certainly made it a ‘farewell to remember’ as the champions ended their T20 careers with memorable triumph.
Mahela’s 24 was a sweet little innings which set the tempo while Sangakkara anchored it to perfection with an unbeaten 52. He again proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the Indians as he chose the final of the tournament to claw his way back to form after indifferent first five matches. (Photos: A fitting finale for retiring duo)
The match decisively swung in Sri Lanka’s favour in the 15th over in which Thisara Perera (17 no) chanced his arms to hit Amit Mishra over long-on while Sangakkara swept him fine to get a boundary. 15 runs came off that over and the match was as good as over by then.
In Mishra’s next over, Sangakkara hit him over extra cover for a boundary while Thisara again hit the portly leggie for a six. Mishra went for 32 from four overs and would like to forget his last two matches after a good start. (Full Coverage: ICC World T20)
While Sangakkara made it a ‘Farewell to Remember’, Yuvraj Singh, may face the ire of Indian cricket fans as his slow batting completely upset the momentum for the Indians.
Sangakkara completed his 50 off 33 balls with a sweep and was egged on by the hero of 1996 World Cup Sanath Jayasuriya.
India though started their defence in right earnest when Kusal Perera (5) was removed in the second over by young Mohit.
However in his next over, Jayawardene got three boundaries as Lanka were finally up and running in their chase. The first was a cheeky upper cut, the second a tuck continued…