In his long, illustrious career, Kumar Sangakkara lost two World Cup finals and two World Twenty20 finals. If they had kept him burning deep inside, Sangakkara wiped out all the agony in one innings to lead Sri Lanka to their maiden ICC World T20 title, earning a fitting farewell for himself to his T20 international career.
Sangakkara’s 52 not out from 35 balls also helped his closest friend Mahela Jayawardene to end his T20 career on a high as Sri Lanka beat India by six wickets in a lopsided final at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.
Sri Lanka were desperately seeking the win for the retiring duo, who has given them so much in the last one-and-a-half decade. The only thing they were missing was a global trophy which had slipped from their grasp on quite a few occasions.
They were not ready to make the similar mistakes again, having restricted India to a below-par 130-4 in a nervy battle. Jayawardene played his part making a run-a-ball 24 and Thisara Perera slammed three sixes to stay 23 not out.
Perera, who played just 14 balls, made it ridiculously easy, hitting Ravichandran Ashwin for a straight six over the long-on region as Sri Lanka raced to 134-4 with 13 balls to spare.
The Lankan bowlers set up the win, bowling their hearts out in the death overs to deny India any late surge of runs, restricting them to a kind of total which was far less than their expectations.
India saved the wicket of Virat Kohli till the last ball of the innings but it earned them little advantage as the Sri Lankan bowlers were successful in keeping him off strike during large parts of this period.
Yuvraj Singh huffed and puffed for runs and his departure after a painstaking innings of 11 from 21 balls did not help matters either.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni came to the crease when 11 balls were still left in their innings. He faced seven of those balls only to score just four, something which was enough to describe India’s struggle at the death overs.
Sri Lanka conceded just 19 runs in their last four overs and did not give away a boundary despite a set batsman of the caliber of Kohli at the crease. A creditable bowling performance from the Lankans proved to be extremely decisive.
Things appeared to be heading towards a different way once Nuwan Kulasekara conceded 16 runs in the 16th over as Kohli struck a six and two fours in the first three balls to move to 70, after having completed his fifty off 43 balls.
He could face only eight more deliveries before he was run out attempting two runs from the last ball of their innings.
Kohli, who struck three fifties in the previous five matches, had arrived to the crease in just the second over after Angelo Mathews bowled Ajinkya Rahane for three.
Malinga dropped Kohli on 11 at midwicket off the first ball of Rangana Herath keeping India in the game until the final few overs but it did not prove costly in the end.