SRI LANKA CROWNED T20 WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
Sri Lanka exhibited a clinical performance with the bat to vengefully defeat India by six wickets with 13 balls to spare to claim the Twenty20 World Cup title in Bangladesh on Sunday.
Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Lasith Malinga won the toss and elected to field first.
Left-hander Kumar Sangakkara – who was declared the man of the match – remained unbeaten on 52 runs off 35 balls to drive Sri Lanka to their first maiden title in 18 years since 1996 after their bowlers had restricted India – who won inaugural tournament in 2007 – to 130 for four wickets.
This was a special moment for Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as the two legends of the game ended their international T20 carrier on a perfect note. The pair has been part of a side that has lost four world finals and hasn’t won one. Sangakkara knocked six bounders and a six while Jayawardene recorded 24 off 24 balls.
The victory ended Sri Lanka’s jinx of losing the final games as they lost twice in the 50-over World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 before losing the World T20 finals in 2009 and 2012.
The Indians had beaten the Islanders in the last two tournaments, chasing successfully on both occasions. They were targeting to become the first side to have gone unbeaten through a World T20, made no change to their winning combination. The Islanders made one change to the starting eleven that won the semi-final, bringing in Thisara Perera ahead of the extra spinner, Seekkuge Prasanna.
It was India’s chance to make history by being the first team ever to hold three major titles after World Cup title in 2011 and Champions Trophy in 20 13. But they had no answers to the Sri Lankan instrumental bowlers.
Virat Kohli displayed a sterling performance, hitting 77 off 58 deliveries while Gurunath Sharma recorded 29 off 26 balls.
The match was delayed by 40 minutes due to rain but did not affect overs.