I don’t think it’s any surprise to see India and Sri Lanka in the final of the World T20. They’ve been the best two teams on display in this tournament and indeed, have become regular faces in the finals of limited overs competitions in recent years.
A lot of that can be attributed to the similar skill sets of players in both ranks. Their team combinations are also aptly suited to subcontinent conditions.
Sri Lanka have finished second best in the last two 50 over World Cup finals as well as in two previous World T20 finals. So I’m sure there’s a fierce determination in the Lankan camp to try and snatch the spoils for a change, more so to give their two stalwarts, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, a winning farewell from the international T20 game.
Mind you, nobody would want to taste victory today as much as Sanga and Mahela especially as they’ve both featured in all four of those finals which ended in disappointment.
India aren’t short of incentives either. Having won the 2011 50 over World Cup as well as the Champions Trophy last year, there’s nothing MS Dhoni and his team would love more than to complete a hat-trick of ICC crowns.
Remember that they beat the Lankans on their way to winning both those titles, so that should add to the confidence they’ve gained from their spectacular run in this tournament.
The Lankans did beat India in a warm up match ahead of the tournament, but they know they’ll be facing a different Indian side in Dhaka today. Getting Virat Kohli out early is vital to Sri Lanka’s cause.
Against South Africa, Kohli yet again demonstrated his remarkable control over a high scoring run chase. He’s also got a good record against Lasith Malinga, so I’m sure the Lankans will have that in mind.
The batting of both teams will be tested by the quality spin bowlers that are present in both ranks, but I expect India’s batsmen to fare better in this particular contest.
It’s not a surprise that Sri Lanka’s regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal opted out of the semifinal against West Indies. Teams understand the importance of finding the right combination in this format, and the IPL has already been a witness to this increasing trend.
India have been rewarded for their fearless cricket in this competition, and if they play to their true potential today, it could ensure another agonising night for their subcontinent rivals.