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India vs Sri Lanka in World Cup and other tournament finals

The last time these two teams met in a final was in the tri-series in West Indies. It was a heartbreaking moment for Sri Lanka as iceman MS Dhoni (above) hammered two sixes to seal the deal © AFP
The last time these two teams met in a final was in the tri-series in West Indies. It was a heartbreaking moment for Sri Lanka as iceman MS Dhoni (above) hammered two sixes to seal the deal © AFP

India take on Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC World T20 2014 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday. While this may be the umpteenth clash between the two Asian rivals in recent times, what makes it interesting is the record India enjoys against the island nation, and Sri Lanka’s conversion rate of reaching finals and winning it. Devarchit Varma brings the recent history of the tournament finals in last couple of years between the two sides…


A confident Indian side takes on Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC World T20 2014 tournament on Sunday. While India have reached the final after winning all their five matches so far in the tournament, Sri Lanka lost to England in the league phase. But still they would be feeling very confident about their chances in the final as they have had a very successful stay in Bangladesh. They won the bilateral series against the hosts Bangladesh and then went onto win the Asia Cup 2014.

A good run in the recent past will not only be the sole factor for Sri Lanka’s chances in this final, but the fact that two of their stalwarts – Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are retiring from the T20 format after this tournament and the Sri Lankans would be raring to give them a fitting farewell with a win in this edition.

On the other hand, India would be riding high on confidence having won all their matches so far in the tournament. The team in general has functioned as a well-oiled unit and has not allowed the pressure of the moment and other factors to hamper their performance. The spin attack is back in business with a bang with Ravichandran Ashwin taking charge along with Amit Mishra. The batting firepower too is all guns blazing, with Virat Kohli leading from the front.

The two sides have met quite a few times in the past couple of years. Let’s take a look at what happened when the two Asian powerhouses met in a final (not bilateral):

Asia Cup 1990-91 Final at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

It was a dominant performance by the Indians in the tournament final played at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. After putting in Sri Lanka to bat first, the Indians shot out their opponents for a modest total of 204 in 45 overs. Kapil Dev claimed four wickets and Saradindu Mukherjee as well as Atul Wassan claimed a wicket each as India produced an emphatic show with the ball. For Sri Lanka, the only bright spot in the batting line up was Arjuna Ranatunga, who missed out on a half-century as he was dismissed for 49. While chasing the modest target, India lost Ravi Shastri and Navjot Sidhu early, but half-centuries by Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sanjay Manjrekar guided them to win.

Asia Cup 1994-95 Final, Sharjah

The Indians produced another splendid performance as they dished out an eight-wicket thrashing to the Sri Lankans at the Sharjah Cricket Ground in April 1995. Putting in Sri Lanka to bat once again, the Indians limited their opponents to another modest total of 230. Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble claimed two wickets each. When India came out to chase, Mohammad Azharuddin (90) and Navjot Sidhu (84) added 175 runs for the third wicket to guide India to a commanding win.

Asia Cup 1997 Final, Colombo

Sri Lanka avenged the loss in the previous two finals with an eight-wicket thrashing of India at their favourite hunting ground, the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. After India set a 240-run target in the final, Arjuna Ranatunga, Marvan Atapattu and the dashing Sanath Jayasuriya slammed half-centuries to guide their side to a huge win. Atapattu and Jayasuriya added as many as 137 runs for the first wicket to dash all Indian hopes of making a comeback in the match.

ICC Champions Trophy Final, 2002, Colombo

It was a disappointment for both the sides as for two consecutive days rain denied any action in the middle after the first innings.


Asia Cup 2004 Final, Colombo

Sri Lanka continued to dominate India as this time they won by 25 runs. The bowlers inspired the island nation to a narrow win as the batsmen could manage only 228 runs while batting first. Upul Chandana (3 wickets), Sanath Jayasuriya (2 wickets) and one wicket each from Chaminda Vaas, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Nuwan Zoysa helped Sri Lanka to register a narrow win in the match. For India, Sachin Tendulkar’s innings of 74 was the only bright spot.

The most memorable of all wins; MS Dhoni completes the World Cup win with a six © Getty Images
The most memorable of all wins; MS Dhoni completes the World Cup win with a six © Getty Images

Asia Cup 2008 Final, Karachi

Ajantha Mendis was the star for Sri Lanka as his spell of 8-1-13-6 helped Sri Lanka to maul India by 100 runs and maintain their dominance over India. Batting first, Sri Lanka set a 274-run target against a star-studded Indian batting line-up. But India failed to make a mark with the bat and suffered a batting collapse. They were bowled out for 173 from 39.3 overs as Sri Lanka registered a comprehensive win. Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni led India’s resistance but that wasn’t enough.

Asia Cup Final 2010, Dambulla

This was a memorable win for the Indians as they had managed to break the jinx and beat Sri Lanka in their own backyard. Even the margin was good enough as India had thrashed Sri Lanka by 81 runs. Batting first, India scored 268 runs and hoped their bowlers would do the rest. Ashish Nehra claimed four wickets for 40 runs while Zaheer Khan and Ravindra Jadeja claimed two each as India romped home with an 81-run win.

ICC 2011 World Cup Final, Mumbai  

It was a memorable night for the Indians. Mahela Jayawardene’s century had lifted Sri Lanka to a total of 274 and one thought India would not be able to break the jinx of a home team not winning the tournament. India started on a disastrous note as they lost their star batsmen Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early. But Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli led India’s revival and after the latter fell, came in Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The captain knocked 91 not out off just 79 balls as India won the game by six wickets with 10 balls to spare.

Tri-series final 2013, Port of Spain, Trinidad

It was again a MS Dhoni special. Chasing a modest target of 202 to win, India stumbled to 187 for nine in the 49th over. India needed 15 runs to win in the last six balls and once again they needed their captain to come up with something special. The first ball was a dot, but Dhoni, who had ordered a new bat before that over, smashed three sixes of the next three balls as India won by one wicket with two balls to spare. Ravindra Jadeja was the star for India as he claimed four wickets in the first innings.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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