India v Sri Lanka, World T20, final, Mirpur April 6, 2014

Sri Lanka keep their emotions in check


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Manjrekar: Versatility in SL bowling came through

Even at a time when yorkers were being pumped under India's bats towards the end of their innings, that Sri Lanka could fluff their lines occurred to one and all. By 10:26pm on a refreshingly cool Dhaka night however, the unease of the last seven years had flown away into the dark sky. Sri Lanka let emotions take over only in the end, as they remained true to practicality for much of the final, easing their path to a first major title win since 1996.

While much of the talk would surround Yuvraj Singh's inability and Sri Lanka's efficiency with the ball in the last four overs, the 131-run chase had "tricky" written all over it. But when you have won every crucial game in the previous ten weeks, the habit takes over.

When they lost four wickets, conventionally it should have been Angelo Mathews to walk in but Lasith Malinga decided that they should attack with Thisara Perera, and it paid off handsomely.

"That's why we always trust Thisara Perera," Malinga said after the game. "We know that we have to get 7.5. Thisara has the ability to clear the boundary, whether there are fielders there or not. That's why we wanted to send him in before Angelo. He did good for us."

Kusal Perera and Tillekaratne Dilshan went after the Indian seamers but even when they were dismissed, you somehow knew that Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene would not let this one slip out of their grasp.

The pair added only a run-a-ball 24 for the third wicket but Jayawardene's batting spoke of how calm he felt even in exceptional pressure. Sangakkara, who had made a first-ball duck in the Asia Cup final just under a month ago, kept the shape of the innings and started taking chances as soon as he realised Thisara Perera was hitting it well.

"What I did differently was that I probably watched the ball a bit better today," Sangakkara said. "I was a bit more positive. Earlier when I went in at two down, I was cautious, trying to build a partnership, not being positive and showing intent. That's something I changed today."

Malinga was pleased to see his two most experienced players ensure a smooth path, despite wickets falling at times to slow them down. He also said that the team wanted to win the game for Sangakkara and Jayawardene.

"I think Sanga has been struggling because in a few matches he didn't get runs but I am always talking with him. I know he only have to get one knock, then we will win the match. Mahela also showed his experience. We all had to do something special today, all the support staff, team members, [for these two players]. That's why we were doing our best."

Sangakkara said that he only let emotions take over after they had reduced the chase to single-digit at the start of the 18th over. "I am a great believer that if you get emotional you have to use it to your advantage. If not, then forget about being emotional.

"When we had 11 to get and I top-edged a boundary, I knew it was a couple of shots away, and with Thisara at the other end it was a done deal. That's when I thought I could show some emotion. Sometimes you have to pump yourself up to get over the line. That's what happened today."

This is perhaps what Sangakkara has learned from Bridgetown, Lord's, Mumbai and Colombo in the four finals that Sri Lanka has lost. While they were crushed by Australia's might and Pakistan's momentum in the first two finals, they had one foot in the door in the 2011 and 2012 finals against India and West Indies.

This time, they let their emotions wait and ensured their plans were fitted into the situations they faced. They had a winning feeling, having won every trophy that has come their way during this season in Bangladesh, before this final, and they applied every lesson from these months of staying together, and the seven years they were second best.

That tag can now be stripped away from their skin.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on April 9, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    It's happy to indian fans supporting their team even after they lost the final,

    But folks admit the class and power of Sri Lankan cricket team, they are the only No.1 contender for 7 times.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    @RamanSilva: I already told the same, not opposing ur comments..cheers

    @Gihan Priyashantha: same IND team chased 330+ in just 35 overs on same bowlers. have you forgotten? ...but your team has done good bowling in this match that to in final...great but we didnt expect that would happen against SL. Frankly speaking we thought semis against South Africa is tough and easy against SL. But the end of the particular day, good cricket played by SL and they desereved it.Our Yuvi was out form through out tournmrnt and not able to score briskly and not able to rotate strike and because of that momemtum was lost. Credit goes to senanayake then kula and malinga just followed him. Because same KULA had hammerred by KOHLI in his previous over.

  • Raman on April 8, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    @Shiva Kommuri, It is true that Sri lanka does not have a feared bowling attack. But its bowlers are much better than Indian bowlers. You cannot even compare Kumar and Mishra with Malinga and Kulasekera, especially in death bowling. Our bowlers could do what Steyn-Morkal or Gul-Ajmal could not do.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    It was India's mistake to stay well behind the crease rather than force Kula or Malinga to alter their line of attack. Could have stepped out of the crease to force the pace rather than sticking at the crease. Blame it on both Yuv and Dhoni. I notice the other captains send messages when they find things are not moving as how they want. But Dhoni just waits for Individuals to take ownership and accountability. A captain should be authoritative and demanding, which is what lacking in Dhoni. Had he sent a msg to Yuv to go for the attack right from the word go, he could have either got out or scored some runs off the edge which would have boosted his confidence. Indian coach and Captain are laid-back characters and they paid a heavy price. What we need is an aggressive captain who will not hesitate to blast even a Senior Pro.. 30 more runs and IN would have won. As Kholi rightly said "Lucky God was smiling on SL". WI lost thanks to D/L and IND lost due to Indifferent captaincy.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    @Shiva Kommuri: Are you commenting after watching the ICC World T20 Final? How you say like this: "Sincerely speaking no one fears to play against SL bowling. It is much easier when playing outside subcontinent and even in subcontinent IND never never bothered about SL bowling." I think because of this your so-called mighty Indian batsmen scored 19 runs in the last 4 overs in a T20 match. Another note, you may have quality batsmen, where your team depend only one or two to win a game, but Sri Lankan team wins as a team. It is called team effort, not only one or two. Cheers.

  • Abhijith on April 8, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    Death bowling at it's best.. Peaked at the right time.. I think the MoM should have been given to Malinga and Sanga both..

  • Mohamed on April 8, 2014, 4:27 GMT

    We capitalized and read match conditions very well. I observed Mahela and Malinga speak with Kule in the penultimate over and it just paid off. We even went about the chasing business very well. Thanks to Dilshan and Mahela too who kept the required rate on check, Sanga doing the major potion of the job while Thiisira laid the icing on the cake with a mightt blow. We need Sanga and Mahela in the fifty over format too, at least thier presence will groom budding youngsters to step into their shoes before they call it quits in the longer format.

  • Duminda on April 7, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    The truth is that India lost. Asked from Mr. Dhoni he will tell you how good SL bowling was at the death. Specially dig down the stats and see how many occasions you can find this Indian team was bogged down to 19 runs for 1 wicket in between overs number 16 & 20 in a T 20 match. And if you find a team who has done such wonders, it will be this current SL Team Only!

  • Dummy4 on April 7, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Nothing succeeds like success; and nothing fails like failure. Many of us (fans) prove that. There is no doubt about Yuvi's approach (poor batting and letting others bat); and its serious demoralizing effect.

    But we should applaud the brilliant death bowling by Malinga & Kula. Had never ever seen a pair bowling wide yorkers so consistently over so many balls in a row (with just ONE wide called). I really doubt whether any team would and vcould have scored freely against that kind of stranglehold. Indian batsmen usually handle Malinga's bowling better. But this particular show, fully supported by Kula was a sight to behold (if one can set aside our disappointment in India losing).

    Though an Indian fan, I salute you Malinga & Kula.

    Dhoni & the selectors; your trust in yuvi went unrewarded in this World Cup. And, there is no chance of we getting back our old hero Yuvi. He has fallen badly in all areas (batting, fielding, bowling, fitness and confidence) Sorry Yuvi.

  • Dummy4 on April 7, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    @Modestman ...Please don't compare IND batsmen with Lankan batters. SL got long waited win.Appreciating sincerely...but IND produced greatest BATTING legends... sure IND bowlers are not better than SL bowlers..but sure SL batsmen are not even compete with IND batsmen always. Respect the truth.Even bowlers like McGrath,Pollock, Donald, Steyn,Lee,Akhthar, Murali, Warne, Wasim,Waqar,Ambrose,Walsh,Qadir,McDermott knows about IND batting strength through decades.They all has less success against IND batting compare to any other batting attcks of any country

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