MS Dhoni (left) and Lasith Malinga pose with the ICC World T20 Trophy ahead of the 2014 final © AFP
MS Dhoni (left) and Lasith Malinga pose with the ICC World T20 Trophy ahead of the 2014 final © AFP

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Mirpur: Apr 5, 2014

 

The ICC World T20 2014 is set for a brilliant finale as India take on Sri Lanka at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Sunday. The finalists of the ICC World Cup 2011 meet yet again. While India were the inaugural champions of the World T20 back in 2007, Sri Lanka have been two-time finalists, the latest being in 2012, when they lost to West Indies on home turf. These teams have played each other many times in recent years and there is some familiarity that breeds before this game. Nevertheless, the pressure of the T20 World Cup final makes it a different ball game all together.

 

Mirpur was cloudy on the eve of the final and there is a chance of rain going by the word doing the rounds. One hopes it doesn’t pelt down and the game is done on April 6 itself. The wicket is slow and both sides would back their spinners to do well. Sri Lanka have Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake to do the job for them, whereas India would bank on Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra. Not to forget there is Ravindra Jadeja as well. India have also used Suresh Raina in the tournament. So, expect a lot of slow bowling in this contest.

 

At the outset, there is a lot of talk about Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. The duo will play their last T20 game for their country and would be itching to end on a high. Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan captain did say that the side wants to do well for them. At the same time, he confirmed that he would captain, even if Dinesh Chandimal makes it into the side. Malinga himself would have a huge role as he is their strike fast-bowler.

 

Sri Lanka will have Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera at the top, men who take the attack to the bowlers instantly. Then, lower down the order, there is Lahiru Thirimanne who is in good form. Angelo Mathews is a crucial part of this side with both bat and ball. But, it remains to be seen if they will make a change and bring back Thisara Perera, just to bring that extra edge into their batting. Seekuge Prasanna’s spot could be on the line if that happens.

 

India went into the semi-final with the same side that played Australia in the last game of the Super 10s. Thus, Ajinkya Rahane could hold onto his opening spot. He did well in the semi-final and that should help him. Even Mohit Sharma could play and that would mean Mohammed Shami might just miss out. India would not want to tinker with the winning combination.

 

Virat Kohli is the anchor in the batting line-up and a lot would depend on him. But with Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni around him, it makes an explosive unit.

 

While India have a good record over Sri Lanka in the knockouts, Dhoni did say that it doesn’t matter in this format as it is short and what happens on the day is what counts. Even Malinga said, “It takes one ball to get a batsman out,” when he was asked about bowling to the formidable Indian batting line-up; Kohli in particular. The stage is set for both sides and two very similar teams clash for T20 supremacy.

 

Squads:

 

India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Ajinkya Rahane.

 

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Sachitra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lahiru Thirimana, Suranga Lakmal.

 

Time: 18:30 IST | 13:00 GMT

 

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)