Sri Lanka cricket

T20's old-world poster boy

Mahela Jayawardene's T20 career is testament to an innate cricketing intelligence that has allowed him to freely adapt his game for the shorter formats

Andrew Fidel Fernando

April 5, 2014

Comments: 89 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene plays one over third man, India v Sri Lanka, West Indies tri-series, Kingston, July 2, 2013
Mahela Jayawardene is unshackled by instinct in the shorter format © AFP
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Players/Officials: Mahela Jayawardene
Series/Tournaments: World T20
Teams: Sri Lanka

Long levers, a blacksmith's shoulders, the chest of Adonis and a disregard for batting's conventions: if a Twenty20 superhuman were assembled, Mahela Jayawardene may not be required for its parts. As the format hurtles giddily towards transitory millennial glamour, lighting up its stumps and jazzing up its dancers, by some small miracle Sir Mix-A-Lot has not been lured to reprise "I like big bats and I cannot lie" for a tournament song. Yet, through the neon noise, there Jayawardene was, dismantling attacks along with the brutes, crashing good balls over the ring, crafting T20 gems, but all on his own terms - always on analogue.

Among the clichés evoked by Jayawardene's T20 success has been the thought that he makes quick runs "playing proper cricket shots" - that he proves batting fundamentals can endure un-eroded in the age of "not losing one's shape" and "swinging through the arc". Yet, if he is an advertisement for old-world style, then he is its only poster-boy. The format at times seemed an indignity to Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman; it was too new for Mohammad Yousuf and too much for Michael Clarke.

Some might contend Kumar Sangakkara has also remained relevant in T20, but his innings have not been nearly as good, nor is his batting nearly as pretty as it pretends. Sangakkara has outstripped Jayawardene in so much in the past six years, but here, as they exit together, Jayawardene retains the higher ground.

Perhaps it should be no surprise he has been his country's best T20 batsman, because to label Jayawardene a purist is not to say he is a stickler for tradition. He wields the heave and over-the-shoulder scoop as well as anyone, and the reverse sweep has been among the most productive of his limited-overs array in recent years.

That stroke also reveals something of the cricket IQ that has seen him transplant his game. During a priceless 42 on a Colombo dustbowl in 2012's World T20 semi-final, Jayawardene had the gall to sweep Saeed Ajmal against the turn past short-third man, but when he manoeuvred to play the same shot against Shahid Afridi, he anticipated the bowler would fire in a googly, then sent it above the off-side field for four. The reverse-sweep would earn him close to a third of his runs that evening.

That he resorted to using the back of the bat during the 2009 World T20, because he could not play the shot effectively even then, seems flabbergasting now. Tempered by care and circumspection in Tests, he is unshackled by instinct in the shorter formats, sometimes to his detriment: he was out to the reverse sweep in the 2012 final. As he cuts spinners late as sin, or slinks forward to lift the fast men over cover, few good bowlers will feel they do not have a chance. The joy of his success is heightened by his daring. Each four feels like a caper, every big innings an adventure. On the pitch, he lives out the observer's wonder.

"While I enjoy all formats of the game, and Test cricket is certainly the pinnacle for any player, the journey in Twenty20 cricket has been fascinating," Jayawardene had said when he announced his T20 retirement. "In many ways it helped me get back to my roots, to bat like I used to when I was a schoolboy - for the sheer love of playing attacking shots and expressing myself with full freedom."

He is the second-highest run-getter in the format, commanding an average of 32.81 and a strike rate of 136. As is the case in ODIs, those numbers have been dramatically better when he opens the innings. The versatility of his cricket is so often a boon for his team, but a bane for his record. He is one of the few players who say there is little value in individual accomplishment beyond its use for the collective, and truly mean it.

After the storm that cut West Indies short in Mirpur, Darren Sammy suggested the divine had intervened to send Jayawardene and Sangakkara through to the fifth final of their careers. So often the freest, most expressive Sri Lanka player at the big occasion, perhaps even the universe would not abide a Jayawardene diamond duck for a swansong.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2014, 7:58 GMT)

Prefect farewell for 2 of the great players of this era. well played SL.

Posted by   on (April 7, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

Had a little Cry reading this article... Eventhough I was 1000s of miles away from home I felt like I was there in person. Thank You So much :)

Posted by Fogu on (April 6, 2014, 18:41 GMT)

Very nicely written article about a great human being. I agree with meerkat55, 'On the pitch, he lives out the observer's wonder', a great line. Congrats to Sanga, Mahela and the rest of the SL cricket team and the fans for a well deserved T20 World Cup.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 18:11 GMT)

Salute for a Great Nalandian, Cheered him when he was playing for the school team, we were 5th graders wearing shorts. Always knew some day will represent Sri Lanka. Well done bro, you made us proud. From a fellow Nalandian.

Posted by JamesSmithee on (April 6, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Why India has so much respect on Mahela ? KC is the best batsman they have. Need to say only Indian thinks it differently

Posted by rafilafir on (April 6, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

The greatest veterans and the legends of Sri Lankan cricket saved their best for last. brilliant performance Sanga Mahela,it was sheer team effort! your contribution to SL cricket is immeasurable. undoubtedly you will be missed in this format but glad you will avail your expertise on other formats. We are proud of you both!

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 17:46 GMT)

Perfect farewell for two legends, in shorter version of this game. Now Chandimal and Thrimanne have to take over, with the likes of Angelo and Thisara to keep T20 format of SL live. Finally Sanga brought a much needed victory to SL. Youngsters have a lot to learn from these two legends.Even though they are failed with the bat they use brains and keep the unity to keep the things live and active. It is also appreciated the tough decision taken not to play Chandimal for the sake of the balance of the side, which ultimately proved to be productive.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

thank you mahela. one of the greatest of all time. and sanga too!!!

Posted by ahead-of-time on (April 6, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

In fact you are not a sports writer Andrew, you are a poet. This article is fitting tribute to a great yet humble son of our nation.

Posted by Bilumer on (April 6, 2014, 3:47 GMT)

Cricket is a sport. whoever win, end of the day we have to appreciate the winners not to criticize the countries and the fans. sri Lankan players and the fans happy to accept the out come of the final (win or loose). Sri lanka is a small island but produced many world beaters, this has to be appreciated all the fans in the world. this would be a great farewell match for two legends.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

Srilankans are not built to bludgeon the ball. Consequently to succeed in the shortened format, they had to improvise. That they have done successfully. The strokes that Jayawardena and Dilshan plays epitomises that fact. SriLanakans turned the 50 over game on its head when Jayasuriya and Kalu started hitting the ball over the infielders during the power plays. This is an evolutionary process where one adopts and play to suit you physical limitations.

Posted by JoshTCK on (April 5, 2014, 18:24 GMT)

Anyone serious student/observer of batting technique in cricket will say that there are very few current players who are a true joy to watch. Both Mahela and Sanga clearly belong to that small group. There is no doubt that the shorter version of the game requires a lot of improvisation such as the Dilscoop and reverse sweep. Some, not all, of the new batting improvisations seem quite vulgar to us cricket purists. Perhaps we will have to be satisfied with just watching replays of past test matches.

Posted by mzm149 on (April 5, 2014, 18:20 GMT)

Best of luck Sri Lanka. I hope tomorrow will be big day for Sangakkara and Jayawerdene. Even if they don't score much, their team should win. But t20 is a lottery. Considering the form India is in, it will be very tough to beat them but you never know.

Posted by KavindaSalgado on (April 5, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

My prediction is, it's going to be a flat track with no or limited assistance to the bowlers. Since the lords call the needs, SL boys should be prepared to face any mumbo-jumbo, right from the initial toss as it happened in 2011 WC Final! They should be prepared to win all the mini-battles thrown at them, apart from cricket! They have already faced plenty of them in this tournament as well. If they are on the right side of the coin & the conditions ok, SL should bat first & post a score that is difficult to Topple, even with Doubles! When dealing with such odds in this shorter format, hold your nerve & stick to the business, without any letups. That's the only key to success, no matter what! Hope Malinga would be able to deliver something special, with the help of such a capable/deserving bunch, who were holding the Runners-up Tag in the World Cricket scene for so long! Wish you Good Luck SL, Bless you India, to Win the game fairly and squarely!!

Posted by NimuNimu on (April 5, 2014, 17:14 GMT)

I follow the great game of cricket from USA. Among all teams, I love SL team so much as they are the most humble team among full members countries. Players have relatively lesser ego compared to many others and very respectful for opponents and umpires. West Indies were the other interesting team in this T20 cup. As their captain mentioned after the semi final failure based DL method, I think, God wants a change, some justice to low profiled cricket playing nations and some encouragement to associate members. SL victory gives that encouragement to all. Two or three decades ago SL were like all associates today and SL victory can give them a big inspiration. Good luck to both team!!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

@Liyanage, I am from India.I agree with your analysis for Mahela and have known this now for several years. But having said that Mahela is not just avaerage or good player.. He falls in the category of the very good.. Few reasons for that.1. His batting style .It is stylish,graceful and delightful . 2. His cricketing acumen which we saw as a skipper. Coming to Sanga he is not a all time great perhaps (I mean top-25 player of all time) but he is a modern great for sure i.e a modern day great in last 20 years and indeed one of the greatest and best in last 10 years.As an Indian fan I have hated both of them when they did well against India and won matches for Lanka. As a cricket fan I have always secretly admired them and will do even more when they retire and no longer are our opponents !! Will watch their you tube videos after that..

Finally I agree with your indirect inference that Aravinda De'Silva is the best batsman to come from Lanka. He is an all time favorite of mine !!

Posted by Murali_the_greatest on (April 5, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

Andrew Fernando, you are a talented journalist. He really captures what is special about Jayawardene's batting. A batsman who shows the true meaning of 'timing' the ball and playing classy shots but at the same time, a natural innovator. Also a genuine team player, The T20 game will be poorer for his exit.

Posted by S305 on (April 5, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

Congratulations on a great career Mahela and Sanga.... Focus on the game and enjoy ....

Posted by mirandola on (April 5, 2014, 15:15 GMT)

Mahela has understood it like few other cricketers have; T20 is indeed schoolboy cricket. What is done here does not affect your career figures in any way, and rightly. It is a pantomime form of 'cricket' - it was amusing for a short while, now it needs to be knocked on the head.

Posted by BandulaG on (April 5, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

Obviously India is the clear favorite, but "on superstition" Sri Lanka will win.

1) "After the storm that cut West Indies short in Mirpur, Darren Sammy suggested the divine had intervened to send Jayawardene and Sangakkara through to the fifth final of their careers." this is "Cricinfo" being quoted. So they will take away the cup.

2) Four finals & all lost.It is time to change the trend for Sri Lanka.

3) law of averages heavily in favour of SL for India won 06 matches on the trot.

But superstition along can NOT win matches.SL will need "lots & lots of luck" too.

Posted by miles100 on (April 5, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

The team who is going to win this might be the team who has a greater hunger to win the final. By looking at the two sides I see that hunger in the SL squad than the Indians. India is certainly a team that is very tactful and hard to beat. SL has many reasons to put the spirit in to this game. If SL wins this match, it is mainly because of their team spirit and humbleness. Right now if one was to go and ask any SL player are you willing to die to win this final. Most of them or all will say yes. I have no doubt. This is how much they feel it. In the shortest format of the game it is very easy to maintain that do or die spirit than the 50 over format. At this stage, my money is on SL no matter what the outcome later is.

Posted by ksquared on (April 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT)

I'm tired of seeing people throwing stats around and saying Mahela is not a great player. Stats are like a cover of a book and as they say you can't judge a book by its cover. Mahela is one of the finest captains of this generation (BTW he was awarded the captain of the year by the ICC and was also one of wisdens players of the year because of his leadership) and he has always been a big match player one of the select few cricketers to have scored a century in WC final even the great Sachin didn't achieved it. SL may not miss Mahela the batsman but they well certainly miss the shrewd tactician and one of its finest leaders.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

Hope the Indian team gives the two great players a guard of honor. They deserve it.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

Good luck boys! All the best!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 12:39 GMT)

I have known Sangakarra to be a very great and inspiring batsman/wicketkeeper, And Jayawardena to be a very good batsman as well they have done a lot for Sri Lanka cricket, I hope the youngsters take a page out of these great players and continue the legacy of Sri lanka cricket. I wish you guys good luck at the Final against India. -from West Indies fan #Malingafanalso

Posted by NightFury2011 on (April 5, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

After all, Mahela, Sanga & Dilshan are the only legends/top players featured in 5 out of recent 6 major ICC finals.

This also proves that Sri Lankans are the most consistent team during the last decade.

So, beware Indians, no team will lose for the 5th consecutive time :)

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

Sanga Mahela we want to see an innings of ur life time......pls make us proud.....

Posted by Iceman29 on (April 5, 2014, 11:33 GMT)

Congrats Mahela and Sanga and best wished for your future endeavours both in personaly and professionaly...Mahela and Sanga will be the key players in tommorows game they both click when it matters against Ind...Ind have to be careful against them...

Posted by liontheway on (April 5, 2014, 11:27 GMT)

Lets finish the game with T20 Championship. Good Luck!

Posted by TheNick on (April 5, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

After Jayasurya & Murali; Mahela & Sanga were the reasons I rooted for SL. Though they will still remain in Test and ODI for at least a year or 2, SL needs to look beyond them. New crop doesn't inspire much confidence except may be for Mathews. They do have some good players but not across formats. Hope SL finds some good players soon who can carry on legacy of their greats.

Posted by Senaratne77 on (April 5, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

I have always been a die hard SL fan since the days we were beaten left right and center and will always be no matter what but i'm afraid the Indians are the favourites this time purely due to their batting! I really hope and wish SL wins but at the end of the day I'm not too sure wether we can match their collective batting prowess ! In anycase thank you for the memories and for everything else to both Mr. Jayawardena and Sangakkara, especially Mr. Jayawardena for over coming personal hurdles in his young cricketing life and becoming what he is now!

Come on Mahela, come on lads, one last dash to the finish line, one last hurrah.......!

" Thunuruwange Saranai"!

Posted by Liyanage.1283 on (April 5, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

I'm from Srilanka, a SL fan as well, but that does not mean, I have to be patronizing other SL fans who claim Mahela is legend of the game. Other than Desilva and Murali, SL did not produce any legend. Just compare away (vs) home test records of various players in last 2 decades.

Sachin (53.78 home vs 54.74 away/neutral) Lara (52.88 home vs 47.80 away/neutral) Dravid (52.31 home vs 53.03 away/neutral) Ponting (51.85 home vs 46.40 away/neutral) Inzi (49.60 home vs 46.98 away/neutral) Sangakkara (58.06 home vs 52.07 away/neutral) Jayawardhane (50.30 home vs 39.58 away/neutral) Kallis (55.37 home vs 53.97 away/neutral)

In ODI, record of Mahela is much worse, average of 33.17. And Sachin (44.83), Ponting (42.03), Kallis (44.86) Lara (40.48) etc

FOR SURE, MAHELA JAYAWARDANE CANNOT BE PUT IN THE LIST OF GREAT PLAYERS OF THE GAME and DOES NOT EVEN BELONG TO TOP 30 that played the game in last 2 decades. And Sanga is just a good player, not a great player

Posted by Vajra1x on (April 5, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

Win or lose, this is a fitting tribute to two masters -Sanga and Mahela. To be this long in the face to young talent is but a testament to their skill as much as it is to their ability to adapt to a format that favors young blood. Good luck and happy retirement you guys!..

Posted by StarGater on (April 5, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

They would've been happy had South Africa made the finals but it is the mighty INDIA who can counter every trick of the lankans.

Repeat of the 2011 World Cup. Lankan trump cards Rangana and Malinga will not work against INDIA. Kohli is in red hot form, too much to handle for the Lankans.

Posted by ISB_ACC on (April 5, 2014, 10:15 GMT)

Can sadeera samarawickrama replace this great human.... (under 19 opener in sri lanka)

Posted by wapuser on (April 5, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

Excellent article Andrew!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

MY XI For SL; Dilshan Perara Jayawardene Sanga Thirrammane Matthews Thisara Senanayake Kulasekra Mendis Malinga. I would like mendis coming for herath because india have 4 lefties they would not have difficulties. and prassana making way for perera as india have good batting they need his batting. Mendis needs to come indian batsmen have trouble against him. My Xi: India: Rohit Dhawan Kohli Yuvraj Raina Dhoni Jadeja Ashwin Mishra Bhuvneshwar Shami. i would like dhawan and shami to come back because both r more expirienced than mohit and rahane. Rahane starts too slow whereas Dhawan starts quickly and knows srilankas weakness. and shami is talented as well.

Posted by ISB_ACC on (April 5, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

Only player who had score a hundred in 50/50 being in a lossing side..... Sry for it bro

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 10:02 GMT)

ha ha ha , funny guys , india ll lift the cup with eyes closed

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

Sri Lanka will take this one. It will be India's return gift for 2011 WC.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:46 GMT)

Tomorrow is sri Lanka day.good luck boys!!!!!

Posted by gahapanmachan on (April 5, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

Mahela & Sanga have done a lot more to the island nation than just winning matches. Their stand against red-tape yet deeply devoting themselves to the cause will help generate a better breed and winners years to come.

Growing up in SL a long time before these gems came to the fore,all we saw from our champs were to be polite to the visiting teams who were rude to them in general. General Ranatunga was instrumental in changing all that in my opinion and these boys have taken the bar to a new level. All the best boys and we love you whatever happens in the finals.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

Saluting the two "Bradmen" of Sri lankan tracks.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

most expressive Sri Lanka player at the big occasio.......... counting on you Maiya..............

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:28 GMT)

Once again India topped the ICC World T20 Rankings with 132 points. It will be the #1 ranked Team India vs #2 ranked Sri Lanka in the final.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:27 GMT)

Im a Proud Sri Lankan. Win or Loose Im bloody proud of my Lions. Make it all count Boys. You are blessed.

Posted by MalingaTheToeCrusher on (April 5, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

After a long time I see some real Indian CRICKET fans here, who love cricket. Nice to see some good comments them(love shown towards mahela). It's rare these days to see comments without hatred.

Mahela statically not a great, but oh god don't we just love the way he bats. Pure class, no arrogance in his shots. Would watch a 100 from him than one from Gayle or anyone.

I have a feeling India will win this. India is a very hard team for us to beat, they got probably the next big thing in cricket in kohIi. Don't like his arrogance, but love his never give up attitude and the level of commitment towards the team. Hes easily the best at the moment in limited overs cricket. Then there is Dhoni(easily the best finisher). As a Sri Lankan fan, hope we win, But may the better team win.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:23 GMT)

It's a two classical Asian side fighting for the crown yet again after WC 2011. Both team are great- Indian batting depth VS SL death bowling, India mighty spin vs SL classy spin. the team which will held the nerve Will win the cup.

Posted by iceaxe on (April 5, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

Picking Sri Lanka to win.

Posted by HDG1978 on (April 5, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

India has reached another ICC tournament final and face SL in the final. The good thing about ICC events in the recnt past has been the absence of Oz domination like in the 2000s,, where Aus won 4 ICC trophies leaving other teams with nothing to play for. Pak, Eng, WI, Ind have won ICC events hinting at a level playing field making predicting the ultimate winner difficult. Good for the game. SL has been at the wrong end in ICC tournament finals since the '07 WC in WI losing 4 finals. So the law of averages hints at a SL win. But as an Indian fan, would want India to win. SL has been the team to beat in tournaments in Asia winning the Asia Cup 4 times since '97 (Pak2, Ind1). The question is whether Mahela and Sanga are retiring from all cricket after T20 WC final?. Both are in their mid-30s with 2-3 years of top level cricket left in them and a possible WC next year. So what's the buzz about? They just tasted victory last month in the Asia Cup. So, sorry SL fans, I feel India shoud win.

Posted by mumtaz78 on (April 5, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

Well, it will be a great pleasure to watch SL win tomorrow, Sanga has not done good in this tournament hopefully tomorrow he will give what the country needs from him.With the craftsmanship batting from Mahela and from firing Kusal and Dilshan give what they are capable with finishers like Mathews and might be tight game tomorrow....On the other hand India has the mental advantage by overcoming Sri Lanka with there recent years success in the finals with SL...Hopefully SL will come out from those obstacles and wind tomorrow to give the two legends and memorable farewell..GOOD LUCK or loose you are one of the games finest cricketers.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

I am a Sri Lankan and I remember in 2008 WC finals against Australia all Indians were supportive of Sri Lanka. It was predicted that these two teams will come to the finals.

This is my take;

Top order batting - India middle order batting - Sri Lanka

Death bowling - Sri Lanka Spin bowling - Tie Fielding - tie

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (April 5, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

Two greats of SL and world cricket over the past 15 years. They deserve all the plaudits. Stylish and always fantastic to watch. I hope to see more of them in other formats for some time yet. Batsmen like this do not come along every day.

Good luck SL for tomorrow. Nearly all "neutral" fans will be supporting you.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT)

It is their 6th final (for Mahela & Sanga), including the 2002 Champions Trophy

Posted by batman_gothamcity on (April 5, 2014, 8:48 GMT)

Mahela and Sanga were the flag bearers of Sri Lanka for many years and served in all 3 formats very well . In T 20 also they were exceptional whether be it for national team or playing for clubs . In IPL also they captained there teams .They are well appreciated in India . Hope they continue to shine in Test and ODI cricket .

Posted by cjchanaka on (April 5, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

Another chance for two legends to grab a WC.Both were so unlucky not to win atleast one WC even after selecting four finals.I think this is the right time not only for sanga & mahela but also for dilshan & malinga.Because those four guys have given everything for our country except WC.All the very best................-:)

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:26 GMT)

Mahela & Sanga are true legends of Srilankan cricket. I could feel for them after loosing 4 world cup finals. May be they are destined to win this. I am saying this as an harcore Indian fan. Best of luck to both the teams.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:23 GMT)

Srilanka has a good chance to win...... as the team will give 100% effort on field to give a Grand Farewell to 2 of the great players Srilanka has produced...

as an Indian i would love to see India win........ but who knows

let the BEST TEAM ON THAT DAY win......

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:22 GMT)

mahela when u bat its like a surgeon at work , grace , elegance, precision

Posted by rizwan1981 on (April 5, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

I am a Sri Lankan and my heart says my country will win the final but my head believes India will end up as the champions.

On the subject of Mahela, he will NEVER be considered a great like Sanga, Tendulkar, Ponting or Lara. But for purely aesthetic reasons Mahela trumps everyone except Lara (David Gower and VVS Laxman are others who I will pay money to watch)

Mahela was NOT strategically the best Captain but tactically he has few peers (Nasser Hussein comes close). I recall a one day match in Australia where the official captain was Vaas but Mahela took over during the game when things went awry.

Posted by mithun2880 on (April 5, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

Both Mahela and Sangakkara never groomed the new crop of Srilankan batsmen.They have always been selfish about their performances only, still batting on the top order rather then grooming Chandimal n Thirimanne between them.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

Jayasuriya, Vaas, Murali, and now Mahela &Sanga. The old legends are beggining to fade away for SL...time to make new ones...

Posted by Cricthink on (April 5, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

The final Hurrah! As the curtains come down on 2 Srilanka great S & M, we wish the team and them to Win it for the Country and them. It had been tough both on fans and players to miss out on few occasions at a world event & here is one more chance to even things. Nothing comes easy and we have to play well in all departments if we need to win this. Ideally a good opening stand will ensure the middle order to settle down 7 countering the Indian spin will be the key and S & M will need to ensure they do that.

Our best wishes to Sanga, Mahela and the team. Looking forward for a SL win.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

Analogue. Yes, simple description of delight in this mad digital era. Silky touch. Absolute gentleman. Wish him good luck in the final. May the best team win.anindian fan.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

Has anyone heard from Chandimal? Has he decided not to play the finals also? Hope so... keeping fingers crossed.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

Mahela u ar the one of the best batsman, fielder, not a captain a Leader a true legend...... u skills in batting were unmatcheble.... well done veteran Lion... hope someday we could see a cricketer like u in future Sri Lanka Cricket...

Posted by onebump on (April 5, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

Not just the batting , mahelas tactics and input to the captain

Posted by fantastic_rahul on (April 5, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

Bring on srilnka...they beat NZ,ENGLAND,SA,WEST INDIES..they are all vulnarable to spin...India rise from group of death..and thrash SA in semi-final mark them as best chasing side... We will take revenge of ASIA CUP this time!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

believe me this ti MAHELA & SANGA is going to ťake this cup....

Posted by mohamed_gouz on (April 5, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

mahela & sanga. I will miss this decent player after T20 world cup on the short format game. I hope to see good performance from this last and final match.

Posted by Herath-UK on (April 5, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

Hats off to these two wonderful guys who've done yeoman service to the cause of Sri Lanka cricket over the years. They are legends in cricket not only in Sri Lanka but all over. I hope they do take to administration at the ICC at some point to share their wealth of experience to the world.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

As an Indian fan, i give max respect to both mahela and snagakara , as love their batting . Hope tommorow will be a Fitting final to mark this Occasion. Great Players both wish you all the best in future Business. love from an Indian fan

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

I wish Mahela, Sanga & Sri Lanka to be jubilant tomorrow Insha Allah

Posted by Galmos on (April 5, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

Although Mahela has done a decent job as a top order batsman in this WT20, his good friend Sangakkara averages 4.75 after playing 5 matches. Poor Chandimal who always play for his country's sake, who only had a single opportunity to bat in this tournament (against SA in the first group match wher he scored 12 ), was axed by the Sri Lankan selectors without considering Sanga's poor run in the tournament.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

Yep, when in flow he is pure silk and treat to watch. T20 is more about power (Gayle, Dhoni, Sammy, Pollard, Warner alike) and sloggers (Raina, Afridi, Perera, Maxwell alike) but Mahela hold his own in this format. He is great tactician too and field & bowling changes are awesome read of the game & situation. I do not see anybody of his class in current generation. It will all baseball again. Rahane, perhaps is the only batsman, not in the same class as Jaya, but same mould who prefer his runs with proper cricketing strokes, atleast in IPL. Though he still has to find his footing in international cricket. Jaya's century in 2011 WC final was a pure class. I will not mind another handy contribution from him provided India still wins. If not, I will not have any regrets, SL would have played better if they win. Good luck both teams. May the best team on the day win.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

this article deserves a tribute as well. absolutely brilliant! so classy, as if written by jayawardene himself

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

I am going to be saddened for this classic batsman is going to be on the losing side just as Murali.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:54 GMT)

Really gonna miss you Mahela..He is one among a few who can do class hitting...As an Indian i am supporting my team....and hoping for a good performance from you Mahela

Posted by CheerforUnderdogs on (April 5, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

@Niranjan Samarasekera: This is height of overrating.. with due respect to Mahela: All the adjective could be valid for Sri Lanka only. Wake up dude...

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (April 5, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Swansong to T20 to two legends and absolute classy players and delight to watch and hear. True knights of the cricketing world, Farewell - and thanks for the memories....from ur indian fan

Posted by wapuser on (April 5, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

mahela & sanga you to can do that this time.this is last time world T20.

Posted by rustyryan on (April 5, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

An inconsequential long article for a player who averages 33 in limited overs game.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Mahela is the world's greatest batsman, slip fielder and captain. He has a cricketing brain that surpasses all other cricketers of the past and today.. T20 World cup 2014 final will not only be his "swan-song" but also the pinnacle of Sri Lanka teams success in modern day cricket. The final with India is going to be a tough mstch and both teams have a 50/50 chance of being the champions. But as a Sri Lankan, I back Sri Lanka 100% to win the trophy on Sunday, mainly due to my belief in Mahela's guidance as the Captain ,(notwithstanding Malinga being the official captain), best fielder, best batsman and the most astute STRATEGIST. Dhoni , you'd better "look-out" tomorrow. Niranjan Samarasekera Melbourne

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

it's all about pure class

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

I am this final is going to be the match in both Mahela & Sanga's career. They will come with some extraordinary performance to emerge victorious. What we lacked in all WC finals was the mental strength to handle high pressure situations now we should play as if nothing to lose.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:16 GMT)

exerlent player with pure class and timing...u beauty and the sandness news i heard in this period so far that u are going to retire

Posted by Charindra on (April 5, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

What a beautifully articulated tribute. Come on Mahela, one more big match winning performance, and you can focus on Tests and ODIs :)

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Tournament Results
India v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Apr 6, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
India v South Africa at Dhaka - Apr 4, 2014
India won by 6 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 3, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 27 runs (D/L method)
Pakistan v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
West Indies won by 84 runs
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
Australia won by 7 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
More results »
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