Sri Lanka produced a brilliant all-round display to topple India and claim a six-wicket victory in the World Twenty20 final on Sunday.
India, on the back of a series of imposing displays, came into the contest as strong favourites. A superb knock from star man Virat Kohli looked like propelling India to a big score, but they were pegged back by some superb death bowling from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka were set 131 for victory and they eased home thanks to the skills of Kumar Sangakkara, who made an unbeaten half-century in his final game in T20 internationals.
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Sri Lanka gained an early reward for winning the toss and electing to bowl, as Ajinkya Rahane played on off Angelo Mathews—one ball after wicketkeeper Sangakkara had come up to the stumps to apply some pressure.
Rahane’s departure brought Kohli to the wicket. He came into the final as the tournament’s leading run scorer with 242 runs at a strike rate of 128.04.
He was handed an early life and took advantage by powering to his half-century at a real rattle.
In the 16th over Kohli teed off on Nuwan Kulasekara, taking the bowler for a six and two fours. That looked set to be the launchpad for Kohli to spring from, but he was inexplicably starved of the strike in the final four overs.
In the final four overs, Kohli faced a mere eight balls and in that time India added just 19 runs.
Yuvraj Singh was the batsman that stalled the momentum, as he looked in awful touch and eventually holed out when hitting a full toss straight to long off.
The damage had been done for India, and all the steam went out of their innings, as Lasith Malinga and Kulasekara put a strangle on their charge.
It was redemption to an extent for Malinga, as he made a huge mistake in Rangana Herath’s first over. Kohli miscued a pull and it went to Malinga, but he mistimed his jump and shelled the chance.
|Extras||(b 2, lb 2, w 2)|
Sri Lanka were dealt an early setback as Kusal Perera fell to Mohit Sharma, but that brought experienced pair Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene together.
The pair steadied the ship and built a solid platform in the powerplay. Jayawardene is heading into T20 retirement after this tournament, and he will do so with a landmark achievement.
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Dilshan went long in the final over of the powerplay, but he picked out Kohli off the spin of R Ashwin.
Sangakkara is another Sri Lankan star heading into T20 international retirement. He was left to play the leading role as Jayawardene picked out the only man in the ring on the leg side off the part-time spin of Suresh Raina to leave Sri Lanka at 65 for 3.
India captain MS Dhoni took pace off the ball and for a time he and his bowlers put the brakes on Sri Lanka.
But Sangakkara kept his cool, mixing big shots and clever nudges and nurdles, to see his side to a six-wicket win with 13 balls remaining.
|K Perera||Ct Jadeja||Sharma||5||7|
|T Perera||Not Out||21||14|
|Extras||lb 2, w 3|