Mirpur: Lasith Malinga, the captain of the winning Sri Lanka team, attributed their World Twenty20 triumph to guidance from their retiring veteran batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
The Lankans beat India by six wickets in Sunday’s final here, with Sangakkara the man-of-the-match as he and Jayawardene played their final T20 International match.
Answering a question from Gulf News on how it feels to receive the World Cup as a parting gift from the pair, Malinga said: “We won purely due to the guidance from these two experienced cricketers. Sangakkara had not done well in this tournament but he chose this final to do it. The whole support staff and team are thankful to him.”
When Sangakkara was asked how it felt to walk away from the format with a World Cup win, he said: “It is hard to express the feeling. I feel very humbled. I would not have reached this stage but for the support of everyone including my family members. I could not have done all this all alone. It has been an amazing journey. We both walk away from this format feeling proud to be part of this side.”
Sangakkara then lauded the team’s bowlers, who restricted India’s powerful batting line-up to 130 for four from their 20 overs.
“It was superb bowling at the death. It was amazing to restrict a batsman who was batting at 70 off just 50-odd balls [Virat Kohli] and a player like [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni and set only a target of 131. Our bowlers bowled brilliantly — all credit to them.”
India skipper Dhoni also lauded the Sri Lankan bowlers, saying: “The last four overs is a place where you really want to score as many as you can and that was an area where we couldn’t capitalise. At the same time you have to give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers.
“I think they executed their plans brilliantly. They were looking for wide yorkers and all the balls were perfect wide yorkers. I think they only bowled one wide or something. Other than that they were right on the mark, which made it further more difficult for our batsmen to score freely.”
Dhoni had a tough time defending Yuvraj Singh, who struggled badly, scoring just 11 runs from 21 balls as the run-rate dropped.
“You talk about the anger of the fans and all but you know it’s always the individual who is more disappointed than the fans,” Dhoni said.
“As a player you go through more because you have your expectations and everything else. So I think that’s not the statement you should talk about. Yes, fans get angry but you should also think about the individual. Nobody wants to really play bad cricket. In front of 40,000 people you don’t really want to drop a catch or misfield. It’s part and parcel of the game.
“And we have seen it happen to many international athletes, not just cricketers. Let’s get rid of it. Yuvi [Yuvraj] tried his best, but it was an off day for him. At the same time it’s not easy for a batsman to go out there and start slogging.”