When Sri Lanka broke jinx to win their maiden T20 World Cup against India
It was emotional for the Sri Lankan fans. Their country had won a World Cup but their heroes were leaving the format.
Updated - Apr 6, 2020 3:16 pm
What a special occasion it was. Two Asian cricketing giants fighting for the 2014 T20 World Cup in one of the most Asian places you’ll ever find, Dhaka. Apart from being the final, the match held much importance as two of Sri Lanka’s greatest ever, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were playing their last T20 International.
India, since winning the inaugural edition of 2007 in South Africa, weren’t the best of performers in the competition history. Sri Lanka though had lost twice in the final, the 2009 edition in England against Pakistan and the 2012 edition at home versus the West Indies. Not only that, but they also had their hearts broken in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup editions.
Skipper Lasith Malinga etched his name into the record books
Sri Lanka had experience on their side with all the finals they had played. All they needed was a big leap in the final, a leap which would bring them their first ICC trophy since the 2002 Champions Trophy which they shared with India. Despite a loss to England in the group stages, they made their way to the semi-final where they defeated the West Indies. Their last hurdle was against the Men in Blue.
The Indian team was on a roll. They had in their kitty the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions trophy. They had come into the final storming past their oppositions. Just a few days ago, Virat Kohli had outshone the Proteas in the semi-final with a whirlwind 72* off just 44 deliveries. The 2014 T20 World Cup was a chance for India to hold all the three ICC trophies together.
Lasith Malinga, captain of Sri Lanka, won the toss at the Sher e Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka and put India to bat. Angelo Mathews stuck for Sri Lanka in the second over of the innings as he clean bowled Ajinkya Rahane. Tight lines by the Sri Lanka bowlers kept Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli under check and by the time former was dismissed, India just had 64 runs in the 11th over.
The events of the next 40 minutes still haunt Indian fans. Yuvraj Singh, the hero for India in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup, came to bat at number 4, ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India didn’t lose a wicket in the said time frame but happened was no less than a nightmare.
The boundaries were far and few but Virat Kohli at one end was doing what he does best, running hard between the wickets and putting pressure on the opposition. The problem was at the other end. Yuvraj was just stuck. No other word would do justice to his stay at the crease on that day. It was one of those days when nothing worked for him. The Sri Lankan bowlers were just not letting him score.
Having just scored 11 runs off 21 balls, he was dismissed on the first ball of the 19th over. Virat was the only shining light for India, scoring 77 of 58 before running himself out on the last ball of the innings. Even Dhoni wasn’t able to hit any boundary in his 7 ball stay. India finished on130.
Once at 2/111 in 16 overs, they just managed 19 off the final four overs. They were in a state of helplessness. Such was the class of the bowling attack led by Lasith Malinga. None of the five bowlers used by him gave more than 30 runs in their quota of 4 overs.
Just Not Enough
In reply, when Kushal Perera got out in the 2nd over, India had their hopes rising. Regular partnerships from the Sri Lankan batsmen, however, meant that India was always behind the eight ball. Kumar Sangakkara kept the innings together with his controlled knock of 52* off 35 deliveries.
When the fourth Sri Lankan wicket fell, they needed 53 runs in 45 balls. Thisara Perera, the new batsman at the crease played a short but important knock of 23* in just 14 balls that took any life that was remaining in the game. From thereon, India just went through the motion and the match finished with Sri Lanka winning by 6 wickets and 13 balls to spare.
It was emotional for the Sri Lankan fans. Their country had won a World Cup but their heroes were leaving the format. It was only fitting that Mahela Jayawardene, after playing for the country for nearly 17 years and Kumar Sangakkara for 14 years and bearing no less than 4 ICC World Cup final losses, left the shorter format with a World Cup.
The 2014 T20 World Cup loss in the final started India’s string of losing in knockouts of ICC tournaments. The loss to Sri Lanka in the final was followed by the loss to Australia in the 2015 World Cup followed by the loss to the West Indies in the semi-final of the 2016 T20 World Cup. It didn’t end there. The 2017 Champions Trophy final loss to Pakistan was followed by the 2019 World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand.