Sri Lanka thus became third time lucky in the World T20 summit clash while Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dream to win a record third World title lay in tatters as his team faltered when it mattered the most. Despite Virat Kohli’s belligerent 77, Yuvraj Singh’s excruciatingly slow innings of 11 off 21 balls left India with a very modest score 130 for four in 20 overs. Kohli’s brilliance went down the drain due to Yuvraj’s struggle. SCORECARD: INDIA VS SRI LANKA (JPN/Agencies)
Sri Lanka faced a few anxious moments in the early stages of the chase but eventually overhauled the target with 13 balls to spare.
It turned out to be a ‘fitting finale’ for the two retiring legends of Sri Lankan cricket as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara certainly made it a ‘farewell to remember’ as the champions ended their T20 careers with a memorable triumph.
Mahela’s 24 was a sweet little innings which set the tempo while Sangakkara anchored it to perfection with an unbeaten 52. He again proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the Indians as he chose the final of the tournament to claw his way back to form after indifferent first five matches.
The match decisively swung in Sri Lanka’s favour in the 15th over in which Thisara Perera (17 no) chanced his arms to hit Amit Mishra over long-on while Sangakkara swept him fine to get a boundary. 15 runs came off that over and the match was as good as over by then.
In Mishra’s next over, Sangakkara hit him over extra cover for a boundary while Thisara again hit the portly leggie for a six. Mishra went for 32 from four overs and would like to forget his last two matches after a good start.
While Sangakkara made it a 'Farewell to Remember', Yuvraj Singh, may face the ire of Indian cricket fans as his slow batting completely upset the momentum for the Indians.
Sangakkara completed his 50 off 33 balls with a sweep and was egged on by the hero of 1996 World Cup Sanath Jayasuriya.
India though started their defence in right earnest when Kusal Perera (5) was removed in the second over by young Mohit.
However in his next over, Jayawardene got three boundaries as Lanka were finally up and running in their chase. The first was a cheeky upper cut, the second a tuck off his hips and the third a ‘lemon cut’ as 15 runs came off that Mohit over.
Then came the Mahela special as he played a deft late-cut off Bhuvneshwar. It was followed with another cheeky scoop over bowler’s head as Indians had a surrendered look on their faces.
T M Dilshan (18) was caught by Kohli at deep square leg fence off Ashwin as Sangakkara joined Jayawardene. Jayawardene’s crisp 24 ended when he tried an uncharacteristically cross-batted heave off Suresh Raina that was caught at deep mid-wicket boundary by Ashwin.
Lahiru Thirimanne (7) was dismissed when he went for a cut shot and Dhoni snapped it brilliantly behind the stumps off Mishra’s bowling.
Sri Lanka were 78 for four at that stage but Perera and Sangakkara coolly carried the team home.
Earlier, Kohli struck his fourth half century of the tournament with yet another superb effort but Lankan bowlers applied brakes on a struggling Yuvraj Singh which certainly hampered the scoring rate to a large extent.
Kohli struck five fours and four sixes in his 58-ball knock as Yuvraj turned out to be a complete disaster as he looked completely out of sorts which even frustrated the in-form batsman at the other end. The last four overs produced only 19 runs due to Yuvraj's failure to get big hits.
While Kohli peppered all parts of the field with his blazing blade, Yuvraj found it difficult to even pick up Sachithra Senanayeke's 'doosra' and Lasith Malinga’s blockhole deliveries. His struggle became so apparent that even Kohli’s anger was palpable at the other end as the hero of 2007 triumph consumed delivery after delivery.
Rangana Herath (1/23) and Angelo Mathews (1/25) gave away only 48 runs in the eight overs as it became a Kohli versus Sri Lanka duel. Even Nuwan Kulasekara (1/29) had a decent day in office despite 16 coming off his one over.
Sri Lanka thus became third time lucky in the World T20 summit clash while Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dream to win a record third World title lay in tatters as his team faltered when it mattered the most.
Despite Virat Kohli’s belligerent 77, Yuvraj Singh’s excruciatingly slow innings of 11 off 21 balls left India with a very modest score 130 for four in 20 overs. Kohli’s brilliance went down the drain due to Yuvraj’s struggle.
SCORECARD: INDIA VS SRI LANKA