April 6, 2014

This time for Sri Lanka?

They have been the most consistent side in the five World T20s so far, but will they be able to overcome India's strong and versatile batting line-up?
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If indeed it's true that third time is lucky, then Sri Lanka are due to win a World T20 final.

In fact there's a good case for arguing that Sri Lanka have been the best international T20 side over the five world tournaments played so far. They have made four semi-finals, equal best with Pakistan, and this is their third final, more than any other side. However, they haven't yet won a final and India will be desperate to make sure that remains the case.

India are currently one for one in finals and what a win it was in South Africa. Not only did it bring great joy to the people of India but it changed the course of cricket history. That thrilling Indian win over Pakistan in 2007 electrified a nation that was previously ambivalent when it came to T20 cricket. This drastic change of heart ensured the enormous success of the first IPL season in 2008.

The wealth and publicity the IPL has brought the players has totally altered the balance of power in the game and resulted in an explosion of T20 leagues. These sweeping changes were like a tornado when compared with the simple rain squall that hit the one-day game following India's unexpected World Cup win in 1983.

Something of a surprise, in a form of the game dominated by power-hitting, is that three subcontinent teams have been the most successful. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India have led the way in World T20 tournaments, and whilst the last two, in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have been played in familiar surroundings, these teams have also excelled in conditions as varied as South Africa, the Caribbean and England.

Another major surprise in the game has been the success of spinners. The demise of the spinner was widely predicted when T20 first became popular, but it seems that, like Mark Twain, reports of their extinction have been greatly exaggerated.

Why are spinners having such great success, not only in Bangladesh but also in other major T20 tournaments? It could be because they are more accustomed to employing outfielders to buy wickets via the caught-in-the-deep trap. In other words, a spinner is still thinking about taking wickets even when the field is spread, while, in that mode the faster bowlers tend to think more about containment. There's a big difference between those two mindsets and the positive approach is likely to both be more frugal and penetrative.

For captains, it's probably easier to predict where a spin bowler - as distinct from a faster bowler - is going to be lofted by batsmen looking to increase the tempo. And it's also more difficult for batsmen to detect line and length from a spinner's field placings, while a faster bowler tends to tip his hand with the placement of his men.

This is particularly so with death bowling, the aspect of cricket most fraught with danger. The current fad is to bowl wide of off stump and full in length, but this should be revisited as there's nothing like a delivery aimed at the stumps to make a batsman feel restricted.

The 2014 final promises to be a competitive affair. Both teams have good spinners with plenty of variety. Sri Lanka have the advantage in pace bowling, with Nuwan Kulasekara dangerous early in the innings and Lasith Malinga quite capable of applying a hand-brake to halt an opponent's late thrust.

India hold the advantage in batting, with their strong and versatile line-up and captaincy. The trump cards are Virat Kohli, who has developed into a dependable match-winner, and MS Dhoni, with his calm leadership and great finishing ability.

As if to underline the highly unpredictable nature of T20, each tournament so far has crowned a different winner. India will be hoping to become the first repeat winner, and this is the most likely result - unless there really is such a thing as third-time lucky.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Asagondi on April 7, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Fa-brace and supporting staff with help of the senior players read the game better than the Indians. Fabrace factor is a real PLUS for islanders

  • android_user on April 6, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    well done SL. they truely deserved this. by far the best team today. bowled superb and exceptionally well in last 4 overs. a perfect send off for 2 great players. both mahela and sanga played well. sanaga with a match winning 50 in last innings and final was superb. been to finals of 5worldcups in last few years or so but finally they broke this jinx.

    have to give credit to every one. selection , coaches and players. superb team effort.

    they played and planned it well. in BD for more than 2 months. won almost everything and were playing good cricket on these pitches. won asia cup and lost just 1 game during all these weeks. best side no doubt.

    many congratulations to all fans.

  • android_user on April 6, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    well done SL. they truely deserved this. by far the best team today. bowled superb and exceptionally well in last 4 years. a perfect send off for 2 great players. both mahela and sanga played well. sanaga with a match winning 50 in last innings and final was superb. been to finals of 5worldcups in last few years or so but finally they broke this jinx.

    have to give credit to every one. selection , coaches and players. superb team effort.

    they played and planned it well. in BD for more than 2 months. won almost everything and were playing good cricket on these pitches. won asia cup and lost just 1 game during all these weeks. best side no doubt.

    many congratulations to all fans.

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    This match is going to be very thrilling game because both teams are in very great form. According to stats Srilanka should win this game because every time winner is changing, but I think it will be very tough task for Srilanka to lift the trophy. Lets wait few minutes for the big thrilling show.

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    @Roger.A. Are you sure about the "country wise rotation system of WT20s"? and it being held after every 4 years 2016 onwards?.. I think ICC had decided that every year one(and only one) multination tournament will be organised. @Anand jha.. I don't have any problem with each subcontinent getting to host WT20.. I am saying that, why are three "consecutive" WT20s being held in the same region.. I mean..Steyn is at his peak right now..but he might not get his opportunity to bowl great T20 spells at a multinational t20 tournament only beacuse of the pitches?!?!..that's unfair..not only to him but other aging skillful pacers too!

  • Roger.A. on April 6, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    T20 Wc's are being held on country wise rotation basis. SA, Eng, WI, SL, Bng, Ind (2016), Aus (2020). Next it would be NZ I guess in 2024. From 2016 onwards it's going to be held once every 4 years.

  • Roger.A. on April 6, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @DaisonGarvasis: Read properly before posting. The last line says, "India will be hoping to become the first repeat winner, and this is the most likely result - unless there really is such a thing as third-time lucky."

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    The very first t20 tournament in england won by Somerset under Grame Smith's captaincy, the bowler of the tournament was Dinesh Mongia " a part time spinner" with economy of under 4.

  • RaghuramanR on April 6, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Comments about spinners taking more wickets is off-the-mark in both ODIs and T20s. In limited overs, spinners are naturally advantaged to take wickets, because batsmen look to score against spinners. It is in tests when bowlers have to provoke batsmen to take wickets. So in limited overs, their skill or lack of it never gets known. This is true for bowlers of all teams in limited overs - ODIs or T20s.

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    Chill Shreyansh joshi, worry not. Sri Lanka or Bangladesh sponsoring world T20 is as normal as that of South Africa, West Indies and England sponsoring the previous events. Chill and relax, the tournament is rotated cyclically.

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