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Sangakkara, Jayawardene lead Sri Lanka to World T20 title


Mirpur (Bangladesh), April 6 :

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene signed off their Twenty20 international careers guiding Sir Lanka to their maiden ICC World Twenty20 title, beating former champions India by six wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here Sunday.

India couldn’t stop the two Sri Lankan legends from ending their Twenty20 international careers on a high note despite heroics from Virat Kohli, who starred again with a fine 77 off 58 balls as the 2007 champions struggled to get 130 for four in 20 overs. Kohli was also adjudged Man of the Tournament.

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara

Sangakkara struck a match-winning 52 off 35 balls while Jayawardene made a run-a-ball 24 as Sri Lanka cruised to 134 for four with 13 balls to spare. Thisara Perera, 23 not out from 14 balls, finished off the match in style with a four. Sangakkara was declared Man of the Match.

The two Sri Lankan stalwarts, who have played 14 years of international cricket together, were then given a grand farewell by their team mates, who carried them on their shoulders around the packed stadium.

It was an otherwise clinical performance by the Sri Lankans and the win was sweet revenge for their loss to India in the 2011 World Cup ODI final in Mumbai. It was also Sri Lanka’s first ICC World Cup win after a series of four losses in the finals. They lost the 2007 and the 2011 50-over World Cups and the 2009 and the 2012 Twenty20 World Cups.

Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Lasith Malinga was bang on target as he opted to bowl first after winning the toss. Indians were done in by their inability to rotate strike and some smart death bowling by Malinga (1/23) and Nuwan Kulasekara (1/29) as they surprisingly managed just 19 runs in the last four overs.

Besides Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane (29) and Yuvraj Singh (11) were the only other Indian batsmen who could get to double figures. But it was painstaking batting by Yuvraj, who took 21 balls for his 11, that tilted the match in favour of Sri Lanka. Even skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained unbeaten on four runs for seven balls.

Kohli, who had smashed Kulasekara for 16 runs with a four and two sixes in the 16th over, got just seven strikes in the last four overs to make matters worse for India.

Both Malinga and Kulasekara bowled full and wide making it tough for the Indian batsmen to reach for them. Malinga expectedly bowled a fine final over giving away a mere four runs to leave the Indians disappointed.