“We just wanted to enjoy our cricket and enjoy each others company"
After two and half weeks of intense competition, India will face Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on 06 April 2014.
Though a different format, the familiar foes will revive their rivalry in a repeat of the 2011 fifty over world cup. With the World T20 being held in Bangladesh, both teams are quite comfortable in this environment.
While this is a 50-50 contest, India will have a slight edge over the Emerald Islanders having beaten them in big games. Both sides are quite familiar with each other, and know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
At a press conference Indian captain, MS Dhoni said his team will try their level best to win the final.
India have a good a chance to win their 2nd World T20 title after winning the inaugural event in 2007. They can also be the first team to hold all three ICC Titles (ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20) at the same time if they win on Sunday.
Team India claimed comfortable wins against Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh and Australia during the super 10 stage of the tournament.
India were tested against South Africa, but won with flying colours. The Men in Blue are determined to seize this opportunity, especially as they remain undefeated in the tournament so far.
Many former cricketers like Kris Srikkanth believe if they stick to their plans they will be crowned T20 champions once again.
Speaking about the team and the mood in the Indian camp, Virat Kohli said:
“MS has kept the dressing room atmosphere really calm, with all the stuff that has happened back in the previous tours. It was good to sort of put that away and focus on this tournament. “
“We just wanted to enjoy our cricket and enjoy each others company, which we have done beautifully so far in the tournament. And just one more day to go and hopefully we can continue to do that,” he added.
For Sri Lanka this is the perfect moment to give two of their greatest cricketers, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene the perfect send off in T20 cricket and win a big trophy.
Sri Lanka have only lost one match in the competition against England, courtesy of an Alex Hales hundred. Having won the Asia Cup final a month ago, Sri Lanka will go into the final quite confident.
Sri Lanka are hoping to win their maiden ICC World T20 Title, after finishing runners up in 2009 and 2012.
The pressure of losing in finals will certainly play on the minds of the Sri Lankans. Hoping to break the shackles, All rounder Angelo Matthews said:
“We’re not looking too far ahead. Because we just don’t want to get into the final and keep losing. We just want to break that barrier and try to win. But obviously we know we have to get the processes right.”
With fans expected to cheer on their favourite players in the final, lets preview both teams:
India are riding the crest of a wave, with very few questions marks on the team. Virat Kohli is the highest run scorer in the tournament and Rohit Sharma has played well as an opener. Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh have also looked good in the tournament.
The only real issue for them is there bowling, which was a little off colour against the Proteas. Mohit Sharma who had a poor game against South Africa should be dropped for the more potent Mohammad Shami.
India however will be banking on Ravinchandran Ashwin who has picked up eleven wickets in the tournament.
R. Ashwin has found a supporter in former Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist tweeting on his official twitter page said: “T20 Ball of the Century from Ashwin.” This was in reference to his carom ball delivery, which dismissed Hashim Amla.
The bowling advantage India had against non sub-continental teams may not come into play as Sri Lanka play spin well.
On and off the pitch, whenever India are in the doldrums they tend to gel together and play better.
Sri Lanka will need to post at least 180 if they are to have a chance of winning. The key for Sri Lanka is to bat first and then put the pressure on the Indian team. This is because Sangakkara and Jayawardene have not been in the best of form recently.
Sri Lanka might want to bat second, knowing that India has a weak bowling attack. Sri Lanka are very good players of spin, which could prove to be very crucial in the match. Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Matthews need to score heavily for Sri Lanka.
Lasith Malinga’s contribution will be vital, especially if he can keep bowling those deadly yorkers. Sri Lanka may not rely too much on their slow bowlers as the Indian team play spin well.
Malinga who is leading the Sri Lanka team instead of squad captain Dinesh Chandimal will be targeting a famous victory against the Indians.
Both captains have stressed to minimise mistakes and focus on playing good cricket. Bookmakers in England are making India the favourites for the final.