This is where it all ends. It started three weeks back with all the thrills and spills. It was some enthralling cricket played by all the teams. In the end two teams emerged as up and running to winning the much coveted trophy. India and Srilanka have just been extra ordinary throughout the tournament. The two teams, which have previously met in 2002 Champions Trophy finals and 2011 World Cup finals meet again at Mirpur for the ICC World T20 finale. When Srilanka and India face each other, the adrenaline will be high. The match will be highly contested and of course, Srilanka will be looking to make amends from the 2011 ICC World Cup and grab the opportunity this time around. But then this is a certain Indian team, which is in no mood to affect their 100% win record in the tournament.
India, after winning the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 haven’t really been in pursut for winning the trophy until now. Srilanka on the otherhand, have made it to two T20 finals, but they couldn’t deliver the finishing punch.
All set for the final, but there are chances of the game being spoilt by rain. Everyone would hope the match to be done today, being a Sunday. The wickets in Bangladesh are slow as has been the case in the whole tournament. Mirpur wicket will also be a slow wicket on both the sides. The two sides have spin as their strength. Srilanka have Rangana Herath and Sachitra Senanayake to do the job, and India have Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra. India have an additional bowler in Ravindra Jadeja, not to forget the offie Suresh Raina. India will be highly depending on spin with a lot of slow bowlers in their armour.
Two names – Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have been ringing in the years since the tournament started. They will be playing their last T20 for the country and would like to retire on a high with winning the trophy. Lasith Malinga, the Srilankan captain proves to be the X-factor. He still remains one of the best T20 bowlers. He can bowl fast and disturb the timber. In the end overs, he particularly does the job for the Lankans. Like Indians countered Steyn, they will have to put up some strategy against Malinga as well.
Srilanka have a destructive opening duo in Dilshan and Kusal Perera. Kusal Perera is seen as a successor to the legendary Sanath Jayasurya, has the talent and the skill to take the game away from India. A quickfire 30-40 runs will prove to be a plenty. Players like these can take the game from the opposition. Dilshan is not the same, but he has scored some runs in the tournament. Dilshan has done well against India and we might be in for a Dilshan special. Lahiru Thirimanne has been in top form for the Lankans and Angelo Mathews down the order will provide the much needed support. Then one last shot at redemption for the senior duo of Sanga and Mahela. If they come good, then India will have a tough job in hands.
India on the other hand, is still unsettled on the opening combination. Last game, India went with Rohit- Rahane pair. Rahane did come good. That will serve him good for the finals. Shami could get a look in, as his consistent bowling might be preferred over Mohit, who was hit all over the park by the South Africans.
Virat Kohli is the talisman when it comes to batting. When Virat Kohli comes good, India wins 85% of it’s matches. He will be supported by Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma who are in good knick as well. Yuvraj Singh did look good against the Aussies and would look to add some runs in the final. The batting order just doesn’t seem to end with Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin to follow.
India does have a competitive advantage over its rivals, but in the shortest format of the game it doesn’t matter. In T20 cricket, things might change within a span of a few balls. The stage is set for the finale. Battle of the sub-continental powers. Bring it on!
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.
Srilanka : 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.
by Jithu Jose Parackal