Colombo: Sri Lanka’s press was distraught today after the host nation lost the World Twenty20 final against the West Indies, with criticism focused on the team’s record of crumbling under pressure.

Millions of fans had prayed that Mahela Jayawardena’s side would not choke in the Colombo clash, but the result was the fourth defeat for the country in major tournament finals since 2007.

“Silence of the Lion,” said the privately-run Ceylon Today. “West Indies carry out their threat and dance on a Sri Lankan graveyard.”

“Samuels pummels chokers,” said the Daily Mirror in a reference to Marlon Samuels who won the man of the match award, making 78 runs off 56 balls.

“Sri Lanka strengthened their tag as the big-game chokers, losing to the same team they crushed by nine wickets with 28 balls to spare in the Super Eight round,” the paper added.

The privately-run Island newspaper thought one culprit in the humiliating defeat was Lasith Malinga, who gave away 54 runs in four overs and collected no wickets.

“The best bowler in the shortest form of the game miserably failed to live up to expectations in the biggest cricket spectacle hosted in (Sri Lanka’s) history,” it said.

Sri Lanka had started off well and it was “heartbreaking” for 35,000 fans inside the stadium, the paper said.

Twitter and Facebook chatter pointed to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s presence at the R. Premadasa stadium as a possible jinx on the home side.

Rajapakse had told journalists he was in two minds about going to the finals because his presence at two previous World Cup finals had ended in defeat.

“Again the same story,” said Sri Lankan fan Aneez on his Twitter account.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Sports News Desk