All set for title showdown, India to take on Sri Lanka again
Updated - Apr 5, 2014 2:00 am
The World T20 2014 has finally reached its business end. Its finally the time for title showdown and to bring the monotonicity back, India will be facing Sri Lanka once again in the finals. The two teams had seperate routes to the finals; while Sri Lanka didn’t had to suffer the Gayle-storm and instead had hail-storm cruising them, India had to bat their hearts out to climb up 173 against a formidable South African pace attack in the second semifinals. We will have a look at both the teams, how they fared against their oppositions and what should they keep in mind ahead of the big finals.
India (Last 5 matches: W W W W W)
India has never lost a semifinals in World Championships since 2000. The fact remains intact, and the man who played the lead role last night was Virat Kohli, the most dependable man of the Indian side since the retirement of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Having chased a highest score of 139 in the group stages, questions started to rise up about how would India chase 173 but after a formidable opening stand and man-for-man battle against the Proteas, India sealed their spot in the finals.
If anything is considered a good omen for the team, it is the returning form of Yuvraj Singh who followed his 41-ball 60 up with a supportive 16-ball 18 in the semifinals against Sri Lanka. Mohit Sharma’s place in the playing XI ahead of Mohammed Shami is questionable and the paceman will be likely back in the team ahead of the big finals.
The X-Factor apart from Virat Kohli for India will be the leg-spinner, Amit Mishra. He may have had an off-day in the semifinals but his ability to turn the ball isn’t questionable. Ravichandran Ashwin will be playing a key-role in the Indian side and it will be interesting to see if Dhoni uses his T20 Dynamite, Yuvraj Singh with the ball against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka (Last 5 matches: W W L W W)
It will be difficult to write Sri Lanka off in the finals. It will be their third consecutive appearance in the finals of major tournaments after CWC 2011 and WT20 2012. Apart from that, they are coming in at the back of winning the Asia Cup just a month ago. However, the big question remains…. Who will be the captain of the side? Will Dinesh Chandimal take over the reins? Or will it be the acting puppet, Lasith Malinga who didn’t know why he decided to bat in the semis?
Based in Chittagong during the group phases, Sri Lanka won’t find it hard to adapt to the conditions of Mirpur. They didn’t have a full game against West Indies but the spin-combo of Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake had troubled all the batsmen in the tournament so far. However, it won’t be the same against the Indian side, who always prefer dose of spin bowling over seam bowling.
The X-Factor for Sri Lanka will be Kusal Perera. It will be interesting to see how he hits the bowlers during the powerplay overs. However, hitting the Indian bowlers won’t be too easy, who managed to get crucial breakthroughs in this phase. Lasith Malinga, their best bowler will be high on his heels to give a perfect send-off to the retiring Kumara Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who didn’t win a World Cup after appearing 4 times in that stage in the last 7 years.
The Big Battle: Virat Kohli vs Lasith Malinga
If anyone has the capability to take on Lasith Malinga, it is the one and only Virat Kohli. This will be the first time they face each other in the shortest format of the game but after looking at the stats of the 50 over format, Malinga would prefer not to unleash his yorkers against the big man. 174 runs from 152 balls at a strike rate of 111.76 that includes 23 hits to the fence. The stats speaks of themselves when Kohli and Malinga face each other. The battle will set the tone for the night of the big finals at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka.
Quote of the Day:
“The only thing that I could have afforded for Kohli is to allow him to hit the winning runs for the side” MS Dhoni in a post match presentation after winning the semifinals vs South Africa