World T20: Sri Lanka lift maiden World T20 title beating India

Jaspreet Sahni |Cricketnext | Updated: April 6, 2014, 10:06 PM IST
World T20: Sri Lanka lift maiden World T20 title beating India

First determination, then emotion. That's how Sri Lanka approached the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 final. The team knew Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara won't slip into a T20 jersey again after Sunday. But they didn't let that emotional thought affect their determination of achieving what they couldn't in 2009 and 2012. In the end, they did it comfortably, beating India by 6 wickets to become the new T20 champions. And then, the team lifted Jayawardene and Sangakkara on their shoulders amid emotional scenes.

It was not an easy start to a nervous day for the two teams as the skies opened up soon after the Women's final. On-and-off rain kept players indoors and covers out on the entire ground. But rain gods did show mercy, and there were no drops falling after worrisome 30 minutes. A 40-minute delay wasn't much and the final remained a 20-20 affair.

But the overcast evening got brighter under lights for Sri Lanka, who belittled India's already paltry 130 for 4 thanks to Sangakkara's farewell innings of 52 not out that finished the game 13 balls earlier.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara had played four World finals before and lost all. And the setting - their last T20 international - was perfect to set the record straight.

Jayawardene came out playing like a man possessed but fell just when it looked he and Sangakkara had chosen the best moment to do it together.
Jayawardene strode in at the fall of first wicket, which India bagged in the second over as Kusal Perera was dismissed by Mohit Sharma. He started his last T20 knock playing like a man possessed but couldn't stay in with Sangakkara, who had joined his veteran team-mate after Tillakaratne Dilshan was sent back by R Ashwin for 18.

Sangakkara began in the same fashion as Jayawardene, who fell after stroking a run-a-ball 24. He was dismissed by Suresh Raina with the Sri Lankan score at 65 for 3. It was then left to Sangakkara, and he responded with a match-winning half-century to bat India out of the game.

Thisara Perera was promoted up the order, ahead of Angelo Mathews, probably because Sri Lanka didn't want the match to drift into the last over. And he answered the call perfectly, hitting an unbeaten 23 off 17 balls which took the pressure off Sangakkara.

The wicketkeeper batsman reached his fifty in 33 balls, slamming the door on India. Perera hit the winning six, followed by scenes of Sri Lankan dug out erupting and leaping in joy running onto the field.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, opting to bowl following the rain delay, dropped Virat Kohli when he was on 11 but then conceded just 19 off the last four overs to compensate for the 66 Kohli scored more. That and Yuvraj Singh's struggling 11 off 21 balls limited India to a below-par 130 for 4.

Kohli was in his elements yet again scoring 77, but a loss of momentum and loss of strike in the death overs didn't allow him to push India's score past 150.

Lasith Malinga made up for dropping Kohli with excellent death bowling that saw Yuvraj struggling to get bat to bowl, which is where Sri Lanka returned in the game when India at one stage looked good to score 160.

The in-form Raina didn't even get a chance to bat, perhaps India played the Yuvraj card wrongly and Dhoni himself or Raina should have come up. But then what if Yuvraj had fired. That was probably the thought behind keeping him at No. 4.

Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Shami remained on the bench, but Ajinkya Rahane couldn't do much and was removed in the second over itself.

But Kohli didn't find any difficulty settling in and strung fifty partnerships with Rohit Sharma (29) and Yuvraj, though the latter was more scratchy due to Yuvraj's flop show.

For Sri Lanka, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and Mathews took one wicket each, while Kohli (77) was run out off the last ball of the innings.

First Published: April 6, 2014, 10:06 PM IST

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