Mahela Jayawardene  and Kumar Sangakkara signed off on a high © Getty Images
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara signed off on a high © Getty Images

 

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene got a fitting farewell as Sri Lanka beat India by six wickets to win the ICC World T20 2014. Abhijit Banare looks back at the highlights of the T20World Cup final.

 

Rohit Sharma does his job

 

Ever since India opted for the new opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, the plan was clear, that Rohit with more strokes can go after the bowling. Despite Rahane’s dismissal and a sluggish pitch in front, Rohit still played his role of scoring a brisk 26-ball 29.At 65 for two, it was a safe platform for the middle order to play their part.

 

Catch that was dropped

 

First ball of the seventh over, Rangana Herath bowled a loopy half-trekker and it was there for Virat Kohli to smash it over mid-wicket, but the mistime luckily coincided with a misjudged jump from skipper Lasith Malinga. Indian fans would have heaved a sigh of relief because it would have been nothing short of a tragedy to see the prolific run-scorer gone and an edgy Yuvraj Singh battling with Suresh Raina. Even the 130 would have been a difficult task.

 

Virat Kohli shows his true character under pressure

 

Being in form is one thing but showing patience when things aren’t going your away takes a different skill altogether. It could easily have been one of those days when Kohli would have said to himself, ‘I will do, what I like to do’ and gone after the bowling. But that patience till getting to his fifty was phenomenal under pressure. The real confidence was Kohli’s belief that he could make up for all of that sedate start and he actually did it.

 

Game-changer: Yuvraj plotting own downfall

 

What do they say about ‘one rotten apple can spoil the others’? It wasn’t Yuvraj Singh’s fault; the signals were already seen in the run-up to the tournament. Confidence can make a huge difference and when you can’t dispatch a juicy full-toss it shows the poor form. But what hurt more was that Yuvraj’s rusty innings frustrated Kohli in good touch and the two big-hitters Raina and MS Dhoni. If you stay from 11th to the 18th over and do nothing valuable, especially in a final, it’s certainly a match losing innings.

 

 


Game-changer: Planned bowling from Sri Lanka

 

Bowling yorkers is one thing, but ensuring that you don’t get unsettled against two of the best batsmen in limited overs format takes a different skill altogether. The 19th and 20th over respectively from Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga undoubtedly changed the complexion of the match. Despite that painful innings from Yuvraj, these two could have still made a difference of 15 runs at least in the last two overs.

 

Fitting ending

 

Batting on 72 from 52 deliveries at the end of 16 overs, Kohli faced just seven of the next 24 deliveries. And it was a perfect ending to the frustration as Kohli was run-out by the direct hit from the deep. He constantly kept hitting the bat in to his pads but could do nothing more than watch from the other end.

 

The Chase 

 

Sri Lanka lose the momentum

 

The target was so small that, even a small cameo from Kusal Perera could have made a huge difference but that wicket from Mohit Sharma allowed India to build it into a pressure situation for the Lankans.

 

Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Dhoni’s fault strategy

 

Dhoni has been brilliant with his captaincy all through the tournament. But in the final, Dhoni kept going with his pacers a touch too long and that allowed Jayawardene to work around with the pace and pick crucial runs. When you are defending 130, every run needs to be preserved and make the opposition earn it. A lot of boundaries were scored off edges but Ashwin and Mishra’s early introduction may have just allowed Dhoni to control the flow of runs.

 

Promotion of Thisara Perera 

 

At 78 for four, the Indian spinners could have easily turned the match around. And it was nothing short of a gamble to send in an aggressive Thisara Perera. He could have perished going for one shot too many. And there was someone like Angelo Mathews who always brings some calmness and sanity to the chase. But Perera’s big hits eased the pressure and allowed them to walk away comfortably.

 

Game-changer: Kumar Sangakkara’s fitting farewell

 

Big game and the Sangakkara stands tall. There’s nothing more reassuring than watching your most reliable player playing solidly. Mind you, Sangakkara was not in the best of form coming in to this tournament, yet the will-power to see off the chase was laudable. The mind goes back to what Darren Sammy said at the post-match press-conference after West Indies’ lost to Sri Lanka in the semi-final: “But I guess, two gentlemen who played for Sri Lanka, have given a lot not only to Sri Lankan cricket, but cricket on a whole. I guess the almighty wants them to leave on a high. They have won more game to try and win the world cup and leave on a high,” Sammy said.

 

At the end of the day, it was the accurate bowling at the death complemented by Yuvraj’s poor form which proved to be the moment which changed the course. The additional 15-20 runs could have still forced the Lankans to go for big shots and concede the wickets. A fitting farewell to Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene who have bore the pain of losing seven finals and finally ended on a high.

 

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)