DAMBULLA: India look to avenge the league-stage humiliation and clinch their second successive One-Day International (ODI) trophy on Sri Lankan soil when they take on the hosts in what promises to be a high-voltage clash of the tri-series final today.
Both teams find themselves face to face in a final for the second time in just over a month after Kumar Sangakkara’s men finished on the losing side in the Asia Cup finals in June. The third team in the fray, New Zealand, was ruled out of the equation after India handed it a 105-run thrashing in the last league match.
The triumph over New Zealand may make it seem that India are in destructive form but the fact remains that had it not been Virender Sehwag’s individual brilliance, the Indians could well have found it hard to put it past the depleted but spirited Kiwis.
Indian captain MS Dhoni, who has never lost a tournament final in Sri Lanka, has admitted that except for Sehwag, all the batsmen are struggling on the tricky pitches here and mastering the conditions would be the biggest challenge for both the teams in the match.
Sehwag’s individual brilliance cannot be counted upon to bail India out in every situation and it is important that the rest of the batsmen, including the attacking Yuvraj Singh find their feet.
But that would not be an easy task against the disciplined Sri Lankan bowling which has discovered a deadly weapon in Thisara Perera, who decimated the Indian batting and left Dhoni’s men to deal with the humiliation of their worst-ever defeat in terms of number of balls left.
Sri Lanka, almost at full strength, probably have the edge, as their batting has not had the embarrassing collapses India have.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2010.
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