Just a couple of hours before the 2014 ICC World T20 finals, the heavens opened up and some bad memories of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy came across the minds of several cricket aficionados. The finals of the tournament between India and Sri Lanka was washed out because of rain which made both the teams share the trophy and the same incident was in line for the World T20 finals. But the prayers of the fans were answered as the rain gods made way for some play after a brief delay.
After losing four finals of ICC tournaments in the past decade, Sri Lanka finally ended their jinx in the 2014 ICC World T20. The newly crowned Twenty20 champions defeated their Asian rivals India by 6 wickets in the finals at Mirpur. By this win, Sri Lanka have given their legendary batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who played their final T20 game a fitting farewell. Kumar Sangakkara was named the Man of the Match and Virat Kohli was declared the Player of the Tournament.
Chasing a modest 131, Sri Lankan chase began in the same way as the Indian innings. They lost their opener Kusal Perera in the second over of the innings. Dilshan kept the scorecard ticking before he departed for 45. It was left to Jayawardene and Sangakkara who were playing their last T20 match and they responded in style. Jayawardene batted cautiously for his 24 and was followed by Lahiru Thirimanne soon. Sri Lanka gambled a bit by promoting Thisara Perera ahead of Angelo Matthews and it paid off for them. But Sangakkara made sure that there was no further hiccups as he led his side to the championship.
After put into bat by Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga, the Indian innings was just a one man show. After losing out Ajinkya Rahane early on in the innings, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma started the repair works by sticking together a partnership of 60 for the second wicket before Rohit was dismissed by Herath. Once again Rohit threw his wicket after working hard in the initial part of his innings. Virat cruised past his fifty and that’s when the disaster struck Indian team. India’s saviour in the 2007 World T20 and 2011 Cricket World Cup Yuvraj Singh struggled to rotate strike as he dented India’s run-rate with their innings moving towards its end. His 21 ball struggle ended in the penultimate over when he hit a full-toss from Nuwan Kulasekara straight into the hands of Thisara Perera at long-off. By then enough damage has been done by the Lankan bowlers.
Some credits has to be given to them for bowling in the right areas in the death overs even the best limited overs batsmen MS Dhoni and Virat found it difficult to score. India thereby ended their innings for a below par 130 with Virat getting run-out on the last ball.