West Indies tri-series 2013 Final: India vs SL - Heroes of the Day
A low-scoring game that turned out to be a humdinger in the end, the final between old foes India and Sri Lanka offered exactly what it promised to the spectators: a close finish.
Bolstered by the return of captain MS Dhoni from a hamstring injury, the Indians dished out a superlative performance with the ball before holding their nerves to scamper home by 1 wicket and pocket the silverware.
Here are the Heroes for the Day:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (3 stumpings, 1 catch; 45 n.o. off 52 balls – 5 fours, 2 sixes)
There is something about the Indian skipper that calms the mind and eases all tensions whenever India chase a target. It was heartening to see the players have an extra spring in their step after Captain Cool was cleared to play the final, and he made it his own.
Three stumpings and a catch started off things nicely, before the booming shots took over as Dhoni plundered 16 runs from the last over bowled by Shaminda Eranga to hand his side the win with 2 balls to spare.
In his typical way, the Ranchi lad finished things off with his trademark six – this time over extra cover. And in an amazingly sporting gesture, he pushed his deputy Virat Kohli forward to accept the Celkon trophy. Looks like the Iceman is back, folks!
Rohit Sharma (58 runs off 89 balls – 5 fours, 1 six)
His partner Shikhar Dhawan may have gone off the boil a bit in this series, but Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma has been quite patient in all his knocks during this tournament. Solid in defence and negotiating the quicker bowlers well, Rohit compiled a well-made half-century and steadied the ship after India lost two early wickets.
He added 50 runs for the third wicket with Dinesh Karthik and another 62 with left-hander Suresh Raina before becoming one of Herath’s four victims. His innings laid the platform for Dhoni’s assault at the end.
Ravindra Jadeja (4/23 in 7.5 overs; 5 runs off 14 balls)
The Saurashtra all-rounder came to the party once again with a lovely four-wicket haul that put the brakes on Sri Lanka’s scoring, especially towards the end of their innings. He removed the dangerous Dinesh Chandimal first up before polishing off the tail.
However, he flopped with the bat, making only 5 runs before being trapped lbw by his counterpart Rangana Herath. Nevertheless, “Sir” still ended up on the winning side.
Kumar Sangakkara (71 runs off 100 balls – 6 fours, 1 six; 3 catches)
Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara has done well in tri-series finals against India in recent times. After close friend and fellow former captain Mahela Jayawardene was dismissed with the score at 49, the wicket-keeper batsman shared a mammoth 122-run stand with young Lahiru Thirimanne for the third wicket.
The veteran southpaw was calm and collected as usual, and only opened up once the batting Powerplay was taken. His dismissal (following Thirimanne’s wicket) triggered a collapse that saw his side eventually post only 201 on the board. Behind the stumps too Sangakkara had a good day, pouching three catches, but couldn’t prevent a defeat for his side.
Lahiru Thirimanne (46 runs off 72 balls – 4 fours)
Thirimanne played a solid knock along with senior batsman Kumar Sangakkara as the duo went about repairing the early damage done by the Indian bowlers.
They put the Indian attack to the sword during the batting powerplay and added a century stand, but once Thirimanne fell, the rest collapsed like a pack of cards. Nevertheless, it was a good knock from the young man.
Rangana Herath (5 runs off 10 balls; 4/20 in 10 overs)
Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath had a decent game himself, bowling Sri Lanka back into the contest with his variations. Having scored just 5 runs in SL’s total of 201, he returned to break the 50-run stand between Karthik and Rohit by removing the former with a quicker one outside off, before castling the latter with one that kept low.
Herath also sent back his Indian counterpart Ravindra Jadeja; interestingly, both picked up four wickets and scored 5 runs while batting. The veteran bowler inflicted further misery by getting rid of Ravichandran Ashwin to leave the opposition tottering at 152/7 before Dhoni turned things around. A fine performance, albeit not a match-winning one.