World T20 Final 2014: India vs. Sri Lanka Prediction and Head-to-Head Record

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2014

India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, and Sri Lanka's captain Lasith Malinga pose with the winners trophy ahead of the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Aijaz Rahi

There's only one match left to play in the 2014 World Twenty20, and it's the one we've all been looking forward to, as India and Sri Lanka will do battle in the final in Bangladesh on Sunday.

The Men in Blue have yet to lose a single match all tournament but faced their most difficult task so far in the semi-finals, ending their chase against South Africa with six wickets (five balls) remaining.

Sri Lanka defeated West Indies by the Duckworth/Lewis Method (D/L Method), with 27 runs to spare, as a massive rainstorm cut their semi-final tie short. The winners of last month's Asia Cup had looked dominant for most of the match, and a frantic finish from the Windies was just too little, too late.

Kusal Perera had opened the innings with 26 runs on 12 balls, and Tillakaratne Dilshan added an even 39. Quick dismissals for Kumar Sangakkara (a single run) and Mahela Jayawardene (out without facing a ball) seemed to cause a bit of a panic, but Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne combined for 84 runs to set the bar at a total of 160 runs.

Aijaz Rahi

And just like they had done in the win over New Zealand, Sri Lanka's spin bowlers took over when it was the Windies' turn to bat.

Sachitra Senanayake only surrendered six runs in two overs for an economy rate of three, while Lasith Malinga did even better, with five runs and two wickets for 2.5. Every single bowler kept his economy under 7.76 in the rain-shortened second innings, as the Sri Lankans seem to be hitting form at just the right time.

As shared by Broken Cricket, the team's bowlers have been quite dominant in the course of this tournament's history, to say the least:

They'll need to be at their very best if the team is to have any chance against India's vaunted attack, though.

Virat Kohli has scored a ridiculous 242 runs so far this tournament, while his partner Rohit Sharma has added 171 on an average of 42.75. The Indian tactic of limiting runs with solid spin bowling and dominating the chase with this partnership has worked to perfection so far, and the team has their bowlers to thank for that.

A.M. Ahad

Four members of that group of bowlers are averaging an economy under 7.5, with Ravichandran Ashwin (4.91) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5.31) leading the way. Supported by the likes of Kohli and Sharma and their excellent production, the Men in Blue have been able to take risks with their bowling, and it has paid off so far.

Ashwin has taken 10 wickets, and Amit Mishra has added nine. Look for both players to aggressively go after Sri Lanka's batsmen, knowing full well they can afford to give up some runs with Kohli and Sharma backing them up.

Per ESPN Cricinfo, these teams have met five times before in T20 Internationals, with the Indian team leading the series with three wins.

Simon Hughes doesn't see any way Si Lanka would be able to even the series at three each:

India have looked unstoppable at times, but the Proteas were able to do some damage to the team's bowling lineup in the semi-final, with Faf du Plessis scoring 58 runs and Jean-Paul Duminy adding 45 more. Both are top-class batsmen, but Sri Lanka boast their own stars with the bat in Perera and Sangakkara.

If Sri Lanka can win the toss and let the Indian team bat first, their group of spin bowlers could limit some of India's big swingers in their production, putting even more pressure on the Indian bowlers as they face the chase.

But if the Men in Blue can get any sort of rhythm going, there seems to be little that can stop the team from continuing their unbeaten run through this tournament.

Prediction: India win by five wickets


All statistics used are courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.


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