Sri Lanka and the West Indies are set to clash in the final of the T20 World Cup, on Sunday, October 7, and both teams will be desperate to win it.
For Sri Lanka, a win in front of their home fans will be especially sweet after being beaten to the title on the last three occasions they got to the finals — at the 2007 and 2011 ODI and the 2009 T20 world cups. Mahela Jayawardene has symbolised Sri Lanka’s coming of age in world cricket having led them on all those three occasions. And he would dearly love to fufill the unrequited dream before the end of his glittering career.
The West Indies would love to return to winning ways at a World Cup after more than three decades; they last lifted a world crown when Clive Lloyd’s side won the ODI World Cup in 1979, beating England in the final. Under Darren Sammy, the West Indies are a rejuvenated side and a win on Sunday can go a long way in attracting new Caribbean talent to the game.
Jayawardene has led his team from the front by opening the batting and his presence at the crease has been a calming influence and his side will need more of that when they face a highly motivated West Indian side on Sunday. Dilshan who had a laboured innings on a difficult wicket in the semi-finals will seek to break the shackles in his skipper’s company. Sangakkara brings solidity to the middle order and Jeevan Mendis augments his batting with the ability to bowl a few overs when needed. Mathews brings genuine all-round talents to bear while Thisara Perera is no rabbit with the bat.
Against Pakistan, in the semi-finals, the inclusion of Rangana Herath gave a winning edge to a bowling line up that already has the likes of Malinga, Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis in its ranks. The spinners in particular could hold the key against a Caribbean side brought up on pace.
The West Indies batting clicked when it mattered, in the semi-final match with Australia. For Sammy’s men to have any chance of winning, they will need more of the same against Sri Lanka. Chris Gayle showed great maturity against the Australians and bided his time till the half-way stage of the innings, cutting loose thereafter. If the fate of the final can be said to revolve around the performance of a single player, that player is Gayle. If Sri Lanka get him early, the hosts will consider the match won.
In Samuels, Bravo and Pollard, the West Indies have men who can hit the ball harder than most. If Sammy’s side keep their wits about them as they did against Australia they can do more than offset Sri Lanka’s home advantage. Their bowlers could be key especially if Sri Lanka were to bat first, in the final. The likes of Badri, Rampaul and Narine will pose a constant threat to the Sri Lankan batsmen, with Gayle and Pollard offering more than useful assistance on a wicket that has aided spin.
Prediction: The game on Sunday should go to the team that has the greater hunger to win. But considering the balance in their batting and the advantage they enjoy playing before home supporters, the match is Sri Lanka’s to lose.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.