CONGRATULATIONS, SRI LANKA! SANGA leads SL team to ICC World T20 championship over India

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Sri Lankan cricket legend KUMAR SANGAKKARA (pictured above) helped nail the coffin shut on Team India’s quest for victory in today’s championship final of the 2014 ICC World T20 series held at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, scoring 50 runs to lead his country to a much needed/well earned World Championship. After announcing his retirement from World T20 matches, this is the most glorious end to a brilliant and inspiring T20 career…. Bravo, Sanga!  You are and always will be one of my great heroes in life as well as sports. A class act all the way.

Sri Lanka finally managed to break their jinx of losing the finals of global events, having gone down in the decider of the 50-over World Cup in 2007 and 2011 and T20 World Cup in 2009 and 2012 Sunday’s final was also a repeat of the 2011 50-over World Cup final which India won in Mumbai.

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“It’s been a long time. I can’t be happier or prouder because I think the side carried me all the way through to the final. I didn’t do much other than keeping wickets,” a satisfied and always humble Sangakkara said at the presentation ceremony. “I’m pretty happy to be able to give something back to them. It means a lot to all of us.”

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Cricket correspondent Nishad Pai Vaidya of Cricket Country filed one of the best game reports and with respect, I’m posting his column here for all my cricket friends to read.

Mirpur: Apr 6, 2014

After years of heartbreak and agony, Sri Lanka finally have a world title as they beat India in the final of the ICC World T20 2014 by six wickets at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. After winning the toss, they put India in to bat and bowled brilliantly to restrict them to 130 for four in 20 oversVirat Kohli smashed 77, but the others simply didn’t get going and India could only put that modest total. In reply, Sri Lanka got there without too many problems in only 17.5 overs, and they lost only four wickets. Kumar Sangakkara remained unbeaten on 52 as Thisara Perera smashed the winning six down the ground.

 

There was a bit of rain around before the game and the start was delayed by 40 minutes. The surface was slow and the Indian batsmen certainly struggled to get going. Kohli too took his time and was initially moving at nearly a run-a-ball.  But as the overs progressed, he unleashed his scoring range. He was also helped by a couple of dropped chances. Soon after the powerplay, Lasith Malinga dropped a chance at mid-wicket. While Kohli did go on to make 77, it wasn’t too costly in hindsight as Sri Lanka kept India in check.

 

For a major part of the innings, India were moving at a run-a-ball, and it was only during the 16th over when Kohli took the attack by the scruff of the neck. Nuwan Kulasekara was smashed for a six and two fours as Kohli was getting into his hitting zone. But at the other end, it was a different ball-game. Yuvraj Singh was struggling to get the ball away and slowed down India’s progress. His innings of 11 off 21 balls was painstaking for the Indians and in the last four overs, they could only score 19 runs.

 

When the run-chase began, there were talks about their choke against West Indies in the last final, where they failed to overhaul a similar total. That wasn’t going to happen this time! They did have a few nervous moments though. Kusal Perera was dismissed in the second over. Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan then batted with maturity and took Sri Lanka to 42 in the powerplays. Thereafter, they lost Dilshan and Jayawardene in the space of six overs, and India just sniffed a chance when they had Lahiru Thirimanne cheaply.

 

However, Kumar Sangakkara wasn’t going to let it go so easily. He calmly steered the ship, by picking his spots and constructing a good partnership with Thisara Perera. In the end, it was only too fitting that Sangakkara took his side home, for he hasn’t had such a good tournament. But, cometh the hour, cometh the man! The Island Nation would celebrate a world title for the first time since 1996.

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Brief scores:

India 130 for 4 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 29, Virat Kohli 77; Rangana Herath 1 for 23, Angelo Mathews 1 for 25) lost to Sri Lanka 134 for 4 in 17.5 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 24, Kumar Sangakkara 52*) by 6 wickets.

Player of the Match: Kumar Sangakkara

Player of the Tournament: Virat Kohli

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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