India, Sri Lanka set to battle for World Twenty20 crown

Former champions meet two-time finalists in decider today.


Afp April 05, 2014
If India win, they will become the first team to acquire the World Twenty20 title twice, while Sri Lanka are hoping to win their first one after losing in two previous finals. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA:


Sri Lanka face a daunting test of nerves by a dominant India in Sunday’s all-Asian World Twenty20 final in Dhaka that is rich with incentives for both teams.


If MS Dhoni’s Indians win, they will become the first team to hold all three major limited-overs titles, having won the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year.

Sri Lanka will seek an end to an inexplicable losing streak in title matches, after being beaten twice in the World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 and the World Twenty20 finals in 2009 and 2012.

A fitting farewell to veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in their last T20 international game and a million-dollar winning bonus offered by officials back home will further inspire the Sri Lankans.

Sri Lanka reached Sunday’s final with a 27-run win over defending champions West Indies through the Duckworth-Lewis calculations in a rain-hit semi-final on Thursday.



Sri Lanka’s T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal is again expected to sit it out, as he did on Thursday, to allow the winning combination to stay with pace bowler Lasith Malinga at the helm.

“It’s a special day tomorrow [Sunday] and we have to do something special for Mahela and Sanga,” Malinga told reporters on Saturday. “They are great cricketers and deserve a good farewell.”

Unbeaten India flex muscles

India have enjoyed an amazing run in the tournament, winning all four Super-10 league matches before beating South Africa by six wickets with five deliveries to spare in Friday’s semi-final.

Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 72 off 44 balls as India chased down South Africa’s challenging 172-4, making the prolific right-hander the tournament’s leading scorer with 242 runs from five games.

India have also been served well by opener Rohit Sharma, whose 171 runs are far ahead of the 134 runs compiled by Sri Lanka’s top-scorer Jayawardene.

India also have the bowling edge with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s 10 wickets and leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s nine outshining Sri Lankan seamer Nuwan Kulasekara (seven) and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (five).



Dhoni said the prospect of holding all three titles was not on his, or the team’s, mind.

“We can think of that only after we have won,” said the Indian captain. “For now, it is all about doing what will make us successful. We need to play good cricket, and not focus on statistics.

“It’s a big game tomorrow. Sri Lanka are a fantastic side with a good mix of experienced and young players. We will have to be on top of our game.”

Meanwhile, defending champions Australia will take on England in the women’s final at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium a few hours before the men take the field on Sunday.

Head-to-head record

Sri Lanka have won the only World Twenty20 match played between the two sides by five wickets in 2010

India — Road to final

Semi-final

Beat South Africa by 6 wickets

4th group match

Beat Australia by 73 runs

3rd group match

Beat Bangladesh by 8 wickets

2nd group match

Beat the West Indies by 7 wickets

1st group match

Beat Pakistan by 7 wickets

Sri Lanka — Road to final

Semi-Final

Beat the West Indies by 27 runs

4th group match

Beat New Zealand by 59 runs

3rd group match

Lose to England by five wickets

2nd group match

Beat the Netherlands by nine wickets

1st group match

Beat South Africa by five runs

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2014.

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COMMENTS (6)

Rizwan Ahmad | 7 years ago | Reply

Sri Lanka is my favourite in the final match!

T20 Lover | 7 years ago | Reply

India will be on losing side if Sri Lankan bowlers are able to get rid of Kohli and dhoni early in their innings. Only these two mainstay batsmen are their hard to dislodge...rest of team is just below average even indian bowlers won't pose any threat to Lankans..so,I strongly back Lankans today and its their day and their turn to win..all Lankans need to do is to make a plan today and show some character to give a good send off to Sanga and Mahela...Good Luck Lankans!!!

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