Fitting finale for Sri Lanka stalwarts

By Rob Barnett

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene enjoyed a perfect end to their Twenty20 international careers by helping Sri Lanka to World Twenty20 glory.

The veteran batsmen, playing in their fifth major final including the 2011 50-over loss to India, typically stroked important runs, man of the match Sangakkara an unbeaten 52, to stop their opponents from becoming holders of all three global trophies.

The World Cup and Champions Trophy winners posted a below-par 130 for four, despite 77 from the prolific Virat Kohli who was player of the tournament for his stunning 319 runs.

Jayawardene countered the early loss of Kusal Perera with 24 and wicketkeeper-batsman Sangakkara kept cool, his eighth format fifty arriving in the last over of the innings.

Late hitting from Thisara Perera, who replaced Seekkuge Prasanna in Sri Lanka’s sole change, made light of the pressure and secured a six-wicket win with 13 deliveries remaining in Dhaka.

Kumara Sangakkara, man of the match for his unbeaten 52, and Mahela Jayawardene move Sri Lanka towards glory in their last T20 international

Sangakkara and Jayawardene announcing their intention to retire from T20Is in the build-up to the World T20 only upped the stakes for Sri Lanka versus an unchanged India.

Chasing 131 for victory, Kusal skying Mohit Sharma to mid-off in the second over brought Jayawardene to the crease.

He and Tillakaratne Dilshan each found three boundaries before Dilshan, on 18, top-edged Ravichandran Ashwin’s carrom ball to deep square-leg.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara, with 111 format caps between them, briefly consolidated but the latter announced himself by sweeping Ravindra Jadeja for six.

Jayawardene fell for 24 when Ashwin held an excellent catch at midwicket off Suresh Raina, and India’s spinners then kept it tight for several overs as Amit Mishra had Lahiru Thirimanne caught behind.

Thisara’s maximum over long-on and Sangakkara’s flicked four past short fine-leg, both against Mishra, broke the deadlock and, with floodgates opened, they raced to a fifty partnership.

The second of two consecutive fours off Ashwin raised Sangakkara’s half-century and, later in the over, Thisara’s straight six settled matters.

Lasith Malinga, again standing in as captain for Dinesh Chandimal who dropped himself after the group defeat to England, won the toss.

Malinga’s decision paid off when Angelo Mathews bowled Ajinkya Rahane, but the captain shelled Kohli at midwicket on 11 as he and Rohit Sharma put on 60.

Rangana Herath snared Rohit for 29 via a catch at short cover, bringing a scratchy Yuvraj Singh in.

Kohli, who struck four sixes and five fours, kept the momentum up. Facing Nuwan Kulasekara, Yuvraj holed out to long-off in the penultimate over and Kohli was run out for his highest score of the tournament from the innings’ last ball.

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