Sri Lanka deservedly lifted the ICC World T20 title for the first time following a fantastic showing with the ball. Here’s a look at five key reasons that cost India the coveted trophy.
Rohit’s untimely dismissal: Batting first is not India’ strength, but after being inserted in, India needed a bright start. The early dismissal of Ajinkya Rahane did not help their cause, but Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli batted well to put India in to a decent position. The partnership had guided India to 64 for 1 in the 11th over. Rohit had got his eye in and ideally should have carried on, but he fell on 29 from 26 balls. Unlike in the last game, when India were chasing a huge total, this time the need of the hour was for him to carry on. But, Rangana Herath sent him back, and Lanka were on top.
Scratchy Yuvraj: At one end, Virat Kohli was going all guns blazing, but on the other hand, Yuvraj Singh was struggling to hit the ball. The left-hander had struck some form against the Aussies, but it wasn’t on display against the Lankans in the final. Yuvraj tried is best, but couldn’t find the fence even once. Eventually, he was dismissed for 11 having faced 21 balls, ending a frustrating 30-minute stay at the crease. India had crawled to 119 for 3 in the 19th over when Yuvraj fell.
Sensational death overs bowling by Lanka: One of the reasons why Yuvraj’s task was made doubly difficult was because Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara bowled superb yorkers towards the end. They bowled it fast and wide outside the off stump, and Yuvraj just couldn’t get any bat on it. What the dot balls to Yuvraj also did was deprive Kohli of the strike at a time when India needed him to face as many deliveries as possible. After Yuvraj was dismissed, the Lankans stifled MS Dhoni as well, who managed to score only 4 in 7 balls.
Swift start by Lanka: Chasing a small target, all Sri Lanka needed to do was get off to a decent start. And, they did exactly that. Although Kushal Perera was dismissed in the second over, the experienced duo of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene mixed caution with aggression to constantly keep India under pressure, never allowing them to dominate. They swiftly moved the score on to 41 in the 6th Dilshan was dismissed.
Sangakkara’s calm head: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Kumar Sangakkara had hardly scored a run going into the big final. But, with the game somewhat in the balance, with India having picked up the wickets of Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne in quick succession, Sangakkara showed his class again. Finding the gaps with ease, he guided Lanka through to the title with a sublime half-century. Indians would have been disappointed with the result, but even they would have to admit that, in his final T20 match, Sangakkara was too good for them.
--By A Cricket Analyst