World Cup T20: Clinical Kumar Sangakkara takes Sri Lanka home

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara gestures towards fans after his team won the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament final match against India at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on April 6, 2014. Sri Lanka won by six wickets.

Chasing 131 runs to win on the back of an outstanding death bowling performance from Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara, Kumar Sangakkara (52* off 35), playing his last T20 international, brought all his experience to the big occasion to take Sri Lanka to their first World Cup T20 title.

Batting first, India were off to a slow start, losing Ajinkya Rahane early and scoring only 64 runs in the first 10 overs. Virat Kohli, shifting gears after the dismissal of Rohit Sharma, looked good to take India to 170+ score. Yuvraj Singh, though, probably played one of the worst ever T20 knocks you will ever see, killing the momentum by scoring only 11 off 21 balls and keeping Kohli out of strike, as well.

It was too late by the time he got dismissed, and the fact the Lankan death bowlers got their radar spot on when it mattered the most didn’t help either: only 35 runs came off the last 5 overs.

India did well to keep themselves in the game for most part of the second innings, thanks to tight spells from off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina, but the inefficiency of Amit Mishra against the left-handers meant India can’t hold it together over an extended period of time to pull it off. The Lankans completed the chase in 17.5 overs.

Post-match reactions:

Mahela Jayawerdene:

“We finally managed to break the jinx. Thanks so much to family and friends but this one is for SL fans who have been waiting since 1996. It wasn’t a normal match. Lot of emotions as this was the last T20. It hasn’t sunk in yet and it will take a couple of days to get the feeling.”

Virat Kohli, the Man-of-the-Series:

“Congratulations to the SL team, especially Mahela and Sanga. Darren was right, the god was really smiling on them. But they deserved this, they played really well. Last T20 WC, I tried to do my bit, but this time around I tried to make the most of the good form. The most pleasing thing was that we made it to the finals. Some people talk about that I can’t score in the first innings.. (smiles) but Malinga bowled very well in the last few overs. It was one of the off days. SL bowled in brilliant areas. Our boys can be proud of the way we played this tournament.”

Kumar Sangakkara, the Man-of-the-Match:

“What a way to finish his T20 career. It’s been a long time coming.. Waited five finals. Pretty happy I was able to do something for our team. It means a lot to all of us. We are very humbled by this. The way Kohli was batting, he was about to take the game away from us, but the way we bowled was brilliant. It was an all-round performance, led by Lasith, Angelo had an amazing tournament. India are a tough side, but we are happy to be in the winning side. My family and playing for Sri Lanka are the two most important things that happened to me in my life. Everyone’s got to go and my time is now.”

MS Dhoni:

“In the middle overs, our batsmen tried our best to get going, but we couldn’t convert the good start. We could have always got those 10-15 runs, but cricket is about those runs. The last four overs they executed their plans very well and for our side that doesn’t play scoops well, that worked for them. Malinga with that slingy action kept bowling it wide. It was a perfect game for them. Virat has been brilliant in the last few years. He is someone who makes most of the opportunity. The good thing is that he plays authentic shots and still scores runs. He is got a bright future ahead of them.”

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Edited by Staff Editor
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