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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

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?

Ian Chappell

April 6, 2014

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Yuvraj Singh lifts Virat Kohli up after the win, India v South Africa, World T20, semi-final, Mirpur, April 4, 2014
Virat Kohli: India's dependable match-winner © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: World T20
Teams: India | Sri Lanka

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

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Posted by AsviduS 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

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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."

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (April 6, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

Chappelli, one should go with the CURRENT FORM not the last 8 year history while trying to predict the winner. Ricky Ponting scored a lot of runs over the years but was not effective towards the end of his career and there questions on his place in the team. Saurav Ganguly was dropped from the team despite scoring tons of runs but failing to score well towards the end of his career. These calls were made on CURRENT FORM not based on they performed over the past 10 years or so. So if you are planning to give a truthful insight, one should call it on India on CURRENT FORM. Theoritically, India are the favorites. However, on a given day any team can win. But if you pinpointing a favorite to win, it should be India. Logic says so.

Posted by RD_INDIAN on (April 6, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

Malinga hasnt been effective when bowling to india since the CB series in australia where he was smashed fr 96 runs. He has stopped the runs but hasnt been penetrative. I expect the spinners and batsmen will be the deciding factor in this match.

Posted by chapathishot on (April 6, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

Shehan_W .India very rarely plays International T20 as they have only played 2 matches after the last WT20 in SL.So the ranking will not be much for a new form as all teams are not playing the same number of games.Regarding SL they are under pressure and India have nothing to loose so they have to win it from India.Even in the warmup also some of the Indian batsmen were coming back and they only lost by 7 runs and Dhoni could have batted and won that but that loss will be good for India

Posted by sewan on (April 6, 2014, 8:22 GMT)

Believe in "Third time lucky" theory, Ian

Posted by mahendernath on (April 6, 2014, 7:21 GMT)

This is gonna be cracker of a match between d 2 Asian giants !!! A replica of 2011 WC is equally probable considering the "Subcontinent pitches similarity". But Sri-Lankans would be keen to give their 2 stalwarts (Sanga & Mahela) a night 4 a life-time !!

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Today it all depends on How Sri Lanka bowl & How india bat. If Sri Lanka bowlers hit good places definitely Sri Lanka will be the champs. " no need to worry about Kholi "

Posted by Shehan_W on (April 6, 2014, 5:26 GMT)

Sri Lanka were the number 1 ranked T20 in the world for the last 20 months, so no one can think luck can keep a team at No 1 ranking for a such a long period if that team doesn't belong to that elite level. Although SL lost to England after scoring 189 in a heavily dew affected match, Sri Lankans have beaten India twice in recent times, in the Asia cup and in the practice match of this WT20. Both the teams are very good T20 sides, but Sri Lanka is more balanced with Lasith Malinga's specialty in death bowling. The better T20 team will lift the T20 trophy as they were also the best two teams in the tournament.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (April 6, 2014, 4:22 GMT)

Ian, I don't think conditions at T20 world cups in Caribbean were too different from the subcontinent pitches. English pitches too have become very slow and low recently, which explains India taking the Champions Trophy last year. India are a product of the pitches they play on. This same team would have struggled to reach the semis if this T20 World cup had played in Australia. MSD & Co. are unbeatable on slow, low turners like the ones in Mirpur.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

Always liked your articles...short and sweet! Btw..does anyone knows why three consecutive worldT20s are been held in the subcontinent.. Sri lanka in 2012,Bangladesh in 2014 and India in 2016 Is it because the ICC gets more revenue out of these nations?.. Its a clear disadvantage to the teams which is not comfortable against spinners. I think it should be held in all the top 10 nations of the rankings as it adds more variety and hence interest too!

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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