They might have not lived up to the expectations in the ICC World Twenty20, but Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have been the face of Sri Lankan cricket for more than a decade now. As Lasith Malinga leads his side into yet another final against India on Sunday, the entire team would want to give these two legends a fitting farewell with a maiden T20 Title.
Every cricketer dreams of winning a World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar’s dream came true after 24 years, and South African legend Jacques Kallis has probably extended his cricketing career, with an aim to give a last shot at the ICC World Cup 2015. Mahela and Sangakkara too would be hoping to add a World Cup trophy to their incredible resumes.
Mahela and Sangakkara have played a combined 265 tests and 781 ODIs, and have accumulated 46,000-plus international runs. They are also known to be big match players and that`s something which adds to the hype of this final.
Sri Lanka have not achieved tremendous success in this tournament. While the spinners have to come to their rescue, right throughout the series, the main concern for the Sri Lankan think tank would be the form of their batsmen. Ajantha Mendis, Sachithra Senanayeke and Rangana Herath have all defended low totals for the team. But, it is the batting department which needs to pull its socks.
How bad has been the form of the batsmen, could be ascertained from the fact that their regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal decided to opt out of the crucial semi-final match against West Indies. Lasith Malinga – the interim skipper now has a job up his sleeves to lead from the front.
Mahela and Sangakkara too would want to contribute with the bat, in what would be their final T20 international appearance. Mahela did play a big knock of 89 runs against England, but it wasn`t a flawless innings, as he was dropped on more than one occasion. Surprisingly, Sangakkara has had a forgettable series where he has managed to score just 19 runs from four innings.
India have major advantage over Sri Lanka, because of their in-form batsmen. While Virat Kohli is looking unstoppable, other key players like Suresh Raina, and Yuvraj Singh have also been among the runs.
Sri Lanka need to keep their past records against India at bay. They might have lost four major finals to India, in the last seven years, but this should be the last thing in their minds, as they already have plenty of issues to contemplate over. The Lankans have a great bowler in Malinga, world class spinners, and only if the batsmen too can put their act together, the Lankans for sure can end their ICC trophy drought.
It was an emotional sight, not just for the Indian fans, but for the fans all across the world, when young Indian cricketers lifted Tendulkar on their shoulders after their emphatic win against Sri Lanka in 2011 World Cup final. The players of the team which was at the receiving end, would want to do something similar for their two phenomenal legends –Jayawardene and Sangakkara on Sunday night.