World T20: Sri Lanka outclass India to lift title
India were on an unexpected winning spree all along the tournament, but on a day when it all boiled down to composure, Sri Lanka displayed nerves of steel as they finally broke the jinx of winning a World Cup ever since the 1996 triumph.
It was a night brimming with varied emotions – excitement, nervousness, nostalgia, etc. For Sri Lanka, it meant bidding adieu to two their greatest cricketers to have graced the game. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara had reached the finals four times, only to end up being heartbroken. Not this time. In what was their last T20I appearance, the two iconic batsmen broke the hoodoo scripted a fitting farewell for themselves.
Being put in to bat, India were on the back foot right from the start of their innings. They posted the lowest total in a World T20, albeit a single-handed effort from the tournament's highest scorer Virat Kohli somewhat helped. The Lankan bowlers were spot on, producing magical overs that left batsmen like Yuvraj Singh cramping for room. Kohli and MS Dhoni then tried resurrecting the innings, but they were no match to a supreme execution from Lasith Malinga and co.
The fear of chasing a World Cup can often lead to sweaty palms and hurried decisions. Sri Lanka lost opener Kusal Perera early on, as he tried to go for his shots. However, Jayawardene's calm approach restored some normalcy, until R Ashwin's carrom ball got rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan who top-edged at deep square leg. In walked Sangakkara, and along with Mahela added 24 for the 3rd wicket, before the latter fell prey to a diving catch by Ashwin at midwicket. Lahiru Thirimmane followed after Dhoni took an excellent low catch, and the match suddenly looked in India's favour with Sri Lanka being 78/4 in the 13th over.
Sangakkara though, was sailing at one end, keeping the required run rate in check. Sri Lanka made their intentions clear by promoting the pinch-hitter Thisara Perera, and then there was no looking back. Sangakkara took charge, going against the spinners while Perera (23) quietly hit a shot or two, as Sri Lanka inched closer to their dream. The target was chased in 17.5 overs, with Sangakkara finishing as the hero, unbeaten on 52 in his final show.
Sri Lanka 134 for 4 (Sangakkara 52*, Jayawardene 24) beat India 130 for 4 (Kohli 77) by 6 wickets