Sri Lanka break final jinx to win World Twenty20

REF:   After heartbreaks in two finals, Sri Lanka lifted their first World Twenty20 trophy comprehensively beating India six wickets in the final on Sunday.


The Lankans produced a brilliant all-round display to topple favourites India with 13 balls remaining at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

Kumar Sangakkara played a matchwinning unbeaten 35-ball 52, mixing big shots and clever nudges to hand his team the title in his farewell game.

He saved the best for the final of the tournament having scored just 19 runs in five previous games.

It was redemption at last for Sri Lanka who lost the 2007 World Cup final, the 2009 World T20 final, the 2011 World Cup final and the 2012 World T20 final.

And the hoodoo that no team has won the T20 World Cup for the second time continues.

Sangakkara guided Sri Lanka through nervous waters after pairing with Mahela Jayawardene, also playing his last international game in the format, to steady the chase.

Chasing 131 for victory on a slow Dhaka pitch, Sri Lanka were jolted early when opener Kushal Perera (5), after a couple of big swings and misses, went back skying Mohit Sharma at mid-off.

The other opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (18) added 36 runs off 28 balls for the second wicket with Jayawardene to steady the ship.

Ravichandran Ashwin broke the dangerous-looking stand with a carrom ball.

Sri Lanka were still going strong with Jayawardene and Sangakkara keeping their chase on track. The experienced pair hit timely boundaries and rotated the strike to add 24 runs.

Jayawardene, however, gifted India a wicket after hitting Suresh Raina for a four in the previous ball for a run-a-ball 24. He tried to slog a flighted delivery hard but hit it straight to Ravichandran Ashwin at mid-wicket.

Hopes of an Indian comeback were raised when Lahiru Thirimanne (7) bottom-edged Amit Mishra to the wicket-keeper to leave his side four down for 78 in the 13th over.

But Man of the Match Sangakkara came big when it mattered most and the gamble with Thisara Perera (23 off 14), who was pushed up the order, paid off.

The pair added 56 runs off just 32 balls with Perera hitting two sixes in the 18th over to ensure that Sri Lanka are world champions for the first time since 1996.

Mohit, Ashwin, Mishra and Raina bagged a wicket each for India.

A superb knock from star batsman Virat Kohli appeared to be propelling India to a big score, but they were pegged back by some superb death bowling.

Choosing to field, Sri Lanka bowled brilliantly to restrict India to a below-par 130 for 4 on a slow wicket.

Kohli tried his best with a 58-ball 77 and raced to his fifty – his fourth of the competition and eighth in international T20 career in 43 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes.

He was handed an early life by captain Malinga when he mistimed his jump and dropped a chance after the batsman miscued a pull in Rangana Herath’s first over.

In the 16th over, Kohli took Kulasekara for a six and two fours and India looked set for late flurry.

Adjudged Player of the Series for his 319 runs he was inexplicably starved of strike and in the final four overs he faced only eight balls and in that time India added just 19 runs without a boundary.

India’s two best T20 batsmen had little to do with the bat in the final as Raina did not get opportunity while Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to connect wide yorkers.

Yuvraj Singh’s shocker of an innings, in which he scratched to 11 off 21 balls, stalled momentum in the end overs despite India bringing up their 100 in 15.1 overs.

The hero of India’s successful 2007 World T20 campaign and 2011 World Cup came in the 11th over and lasted until the 19th eating up too many deliveries.

Big-hitting Dhoni promoted himself up the order but the damage had been done for India. Malinga and Kulasekara bowled wide yorkers to put a strangle on their charge and Dhoni could face just four balls for his 7.

Sri Lanka gained an early breakthrough when Ajinkya Rahane (3) played on off Angelo Mathews in the second over.

Rohit Sharma made a sedate 29 off 26 balls and put on 60 runs for the second wicket with Kohli before going back in the 11th over.

He gave himself room but a subtle change of pace by Herath was enough to send his drive into the hands of Sachitra Senanayake at extra cover.

The toss was delayed due to rain. The match was set to start at 7pm local time but was delayed by 40 minutes.


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