Sangakkara Powers Sri Lanka to WT20 Title as India Fail in Bid to Make History
Defending the modest target, Mohit Sharma struck on the first ball of the second over to give India an early breakthrough with the wicket of Kusal Perera. Mahela Jayawardene then came out to bat in his last T20I with his team in a similar position as the opposition at five for one in the second over.
However, in the Mohit’s next over, Tillakaratne Dilshan and his partner claimed 15 runs. While Jayawardene hit him over the ‘keeper’s head, Dilshan struck him on the leg side to up the momentum of the innings. But Ravichandran Ashwin ended the opener’s cameo by sending him back with the carrom ball.
The Indian spinners kept their team in the fray. The Sri Lankans were cruising along with Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara milking the Indian spinners, until the former hit Suresh Raina to Ashwin at mid-wicket. With the partnership between the two seasoned warhorses ending for 24, Lahiru Thirimanne walked out to the middle. Then it was Amit Mishra’s turn to give India the next breakthrough. The ball brushed past the bat and Dhoni took a low catch to leave SL on 78 for four.
But the experienced campaigner, Sangakkara, was still in the middle and he held the innings together. An over later, Thisara Perera lofted Mishra over long-on, while his senior partner timed the ball to the ropes. Playing his last T20I innings, Sangakkara entertained with some elegant stroke-play as he carried the innings forward. In the leg-spinner’s next over, Sangakkara drove him through extra cover, while Perera hammered the ball over long-on. His next big-hit went up in the skies, but couldn’t be caught by a diving Ajinkya Rahane.
However, the Indian spinners’ wickets taking deliveries – the carrom ball and googly – were struck all over the ground. Sangakkara raced to his half-century with a boundary to fine-leg, and two balls later, Perera struck the winning runs with a boundary off Ashwin.
Earlier, India lost Rahane in just the third over of the day. Angelo Mathews disrupted the opener’s stumps to leave India on four for one. But the loss of wicket brought Virat Kohli out to the middle. After getting off to a shaky start, Kohli was involved in a 60-run partnership with Rohit Sharma. He survived while on 11, as Lasith Malinga couldn’t hold on to a tough catch over his head at midwicket.
As expected, missing out on that tough chance proved expensive for the opposition. Kohli smashed the last ball of the over for a six to garner 10 runs off the over. Two quieter overs later, Rohit powered the ball through point for four, while Kohli hit Mathews over deep midwicket. With 14 runs coming off the over, India were 64 for the loss of one wicket midway through the innings.
However, in the next over, Rohit departed offering a catch to short cover where Sachithra Senanayake took a low catch. Yuvraj Singh, who then joined Kohli in the middle, played a more subdued knock, while his younger partner took on the bowlers in an effort to set Sri Lanka a competitive target. He stepped out to the spinners, hit Senanayake over extra cover for four and followed up by smashing Rangana Herath for a six in the next over. Kohli then brought up his fourth half-century of the tournament off 43 balls with a single to deep cover. So, after years of heartbreak and misfortune, Sri Lanka has something to cheer about – and boy do they deserve it.