For any team, a change in captain in the middle of a World Cup could unsettle it and prove to be a downer, but the way the Sri Lankans rallied around the new captain, Lasith Malinga not only proved their determination to win the coveted trophy but showed tremendous respect for one of the finest new ball bowlers in recent times.
I had expected the Asian giants to clash in the final, for they not only had the advantage of playing in the Asia Cup before the World T20 at the same venue, but the conditions were similar to what they would each encounter back home. And with quality spinners for the T20 format at their disposal, it was on the cards that they would lock horns for the highest honours.
It seems the Indian fortune changed with their win versus Pakistan. From that moment they looked terrific till the Lankans got the better of them. They looked solid in all the departments of the game with spinners ruling and quite expectedly so, in all the matches. Though India’s weak link was its new ball attack, Dhoni led the team very well.
The toss in the final, however, proved crucial. I am sure the Indians too would have preferred to chase the total. I was quite surprised with the way Yuvraj approached the last five overs. Instead of trying to hit the fast bowlers straight, he tried to lift them on the off-side by making room. That ploy was intelligently dealt with by Malinga as he bowled far outside Yuvraj’s off stump resulting in dot balls.
Well, Yuvraj is a fantastic player and anybody can have an off day, but he would have been more effective had he made the bowlers bowl at him. In the end the target was too small to defend and the experience of Sangakkara and Mahela was good enough to see them through without much sweat. Well played, Sri Lanka!