Mirpur: Kumar Sangakkara finished his Twenty20 International career in style by steering Sri Lanka to a spectacular six-wicket victory over India in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
Sangakkara gave the trophy to the island nation as a memorable parting gift as he retires from the format on the back of an unbeaten 52 off 35 balls that decided the match.
The 36-year-old took the man-of-the-match award after hitting six fours and one six. Fellow veteran Mahela Jayawardene, who was also playing his last T20I, chipped in with a run-a-ball 24 to set the stage for victory, In the process, the pair helped Sri Lanka shed their tag as chokers in big tournaments and went some way to making up for the final defeat they suffered against the West Indies on home soil two years ago.
Earlier, Sri Lanka restricted the mighty Indian batting line-up to 130 for four despite another spectacular Virat Kohli knock of 77. Despite Kohli’s knock, the Lankans bowled superbly to check the run flow, especially in the final four overs, when India could score only 19 runs. Kohli’s knock came off 58 balls and contained five boundaries and four sixes.
Sri Lanka, who made one change to their team by including all-rounder Thisara Perera in place of Seekkuge Prasanna, won the toss and opted to field.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remarked that he also wanted to bowl first as they have chased well. India fielded the same team that beat South Africa in the semi-finals.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane opened the innings, but Angelo Mathews stuck with the third ball of the second over by clean bowling Rahane, who went for a cross-batted slog, for three.
Kohli began in style by cracking an in-swinger from Nuwan Kulasekara to the midwicket fence, but still the first three overs produced just six runs.
Sri Lanka introduced off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake in the fifth over and Sharma swung him for a boundary to deep square leg. But Sharma, backing up for a quick single, escaped being run out in the same over as Malinga failed to hit the stumps at the bowler’s end.
Malinga introduced himself in the sixth over. After bowling five good deliveries, his sixth was hit for a straight boundary by Sharma.
Sri Lanka also introduced left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and Kohli, on 11, went for a pull and was dropped by Malinga at midwicket off the first ball. Kohli celebrated his lucky escape by lifting Herath’s last ball of the over long off for a six.
Mathews, who was reintroduced in the eighth over, could not provide any breakthrough and India went past the 50-run mark in the ninth over.
Sharma played a cracking square drive off Mathews to the point boundary to bring up the 50 partnership. Kohli then lifted Mathews for a six to deep midwicket.
The pair had put on 60 runs in nine overs until Herath ended their partnership by having Sharma caught at short cover by Senanayake for 29.
Yuvraj Singh joined Kohli, who was in full flow as he lifted Senanayake over extra cover for a boundary and hit Herath for a straight six.
Malinga came back in the 14th over but Kohli reached his half century off 43 balls. He lifted Kulasekara with immaculate ease and timing over long-on to usher in India’s 100 in the 16th over. He followed it up with a scorching cover drive and also picked up another boundary in the same over to enter the 70s.
Yuvraj struggled to connect, resulting in a dip in the run-rate. He eventually lifted Mathews into the hands of Perera at long-off — to the relief of the crowd. He had consumed 21 balls to score 11 runs.
Dhoni joined Kohli but he could add only 11 more runs to the total. Kohli finally got run out off the last ball of the innings.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost opener Kushal Perera to the first ball of the second over from Mohit Sharma for five when he hit high into the hands of Ravindra Jadeja at mid-off.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, known as a Twenty20 specialist with his innovative shots, picked up three boundaries off Sharma.
India introduced Ravichandran Ashwin in the sixth over and Dilshan pulled him for a boundary but he struck with his fifth ball. With his famous ‘carom’ ball, he made Dilshan swing to Kohli at deep square leg for 18.
Sangakkara began by brilliantly sweeping Jadeja to the boundary to steer Sri Lanka past the 50 run mark. He also swept him for a six.
Raina ended Jayawardene’s innings with Ashwin at midwicket taking a diving catch and Lahiru Thirimanne lasted just seven balls before Amit Mishra had him caught behind.
Sangakkara and Thisara Perera, through a breezy 54-run partnership off 5.2 overs, ensured the victory with 13 balls to spare.
Scoreboard of the World Twenty20 final between India and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.
R. Sharma c Senanayake b Herath 29
A. Rahane b Mathews 3
V. Kohli run out 77
Y. Singh c T. Perera b Kulasekara 11
M. Dhoni not out 4
Extras: (b2, lb2, w2) 6
Total (for four wickets, 20 overs) 130
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Rahane), 2-64 (R. Sharma), 3-119 (Singh), 4-130 (Kohli).
Bowling: Kulasekara 4-0-29-1, Mathews 4-0-25-1, Senanayake 4-0-22-0, Malinga 4-0-27-0 (w1), Herath 4-0-23-1 (w1).
K. Perera c Jadeja b M. Sharma 5
T. Dilshan c Kohli b Ashwin 18
M. Jayawardene c Ashwin b Raina 24
K. Sangakkara not out 52
L. Thirimanne c Dhoni b Mishra 7
T. Perera not out 21
Extras: (lb2, w3) 5
Total (for four wickets, 17.5 overs) 132
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (K. Perera), 2-41 (Dilshan), 3-65 (Jayawardene), 4-78 (Thirimanne).
Bowling: Kumar 3-0-18-0, M. Sharma 2-0-18-1, Ashwin 3.5-0-27-1 (w1), Mishra 4-0-32-1 (w1), Raina 4-0-24-1 (w1), Jadeja 1-0-11-0
Sri Lanka won by six wickets
Toss: Sri Lanka