Mahela Jayawardene reminisced about his stunning 2011 World Cup final knock against India with fondness on Friday. Although the former Sri Lanka batsman feels the stupendous innings 10 years ago was one of his best in international cricket, he wouldn’t want anyone else to experience what he went through.
Mahela Jayawardene remains the only player to score a century in a losing cause in a World Cup final. His outstanding knock of 103* was overshadowed by India’s thrilling six-wicket victory in the 2011 World Cup final.
The 43-year-old spoke about the knock to the ICC, who shared a video of the same on the 2011 World Cup final's 10th anniversary.
Mahela Jayawardene said in this regard:
“You couldn’t have written a better script for me personally when I think about what I wanted to do and how I executed it. So it was brilliant. But I still have the mantle of scoring a hundred in a losing World Cup final. So I am the only one who has done that, so not going to wish that to happen to anyone else."
Coming in to bat at No.4, Mahela Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 103 off just 88 balls against India. His knock powered Sri Lanka to a competitive total of 274/6. The former right-handed batsman, who has 19 ODI centuries to his name, is clear about the one which is closest to his heart.
“It is probably one of my best innings given it was a World Cup final, playing in India against India, in that whole environment. Personally, it was special," added Jayawardene.
Mahela Jayawardene hit 13 fours during his knock, the most by any batsman on the day. He expressed satisfaction with the way he conducted himself in Mumbai, admitting that the century will always be bittersweet for him.
“When I go through that innings over and over again, I probably would not have played a better innings than that. The tempo, the execution, the game plan that I had in my head for the game situation. It would have been better if we were able to win that match. But personally, it was one of my finer moments," explained Jayawardene.
“I honestly don’t think I mistimed a single ball” - Mahela Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene came out to bat when Sri Lanka were struggling at 60/2 after 16.3 overs. He picked up the scoring rate from ball one and stitched together a solid 62-run stand with skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
“For me the mindset when I walked out having looked at us, I just told myself that I need to take control of this situation and bat to a tempo. Bat positively, because when a new batsman comes in you can either fall into that same trap, or you can change the tempo completely if you get going. So that was my mindset. I just need to be positive and change this tempo because we were not in that game at that time," Jayawardene said.
Reminiscing about the knock, Mahela Jayawardene admitted he felt right at home from ball one.
“From ball one, I remember hitting Harbhajan to long on for a single. Everything felt really good. The timing, you could just hear that sound. I just felt very confident from that first ball. After that, I honestly don’t think I mistimed a single ball in that knock," concluded Jayawardene.
Mahela Jayawardene agonizingly missed out on the World Cup as MS Dhoni fired India to victory. The Sri Lankan legend will be seen in the Mumbai Indians dugout during IPL 2021.