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Sri Lanka Won Their First T20 World Cup

Sri Lankan cricket team won the T20 world cup in 2014 by defeating the Indian team thereby giving fitting farewell gifts to their legends

ST
Last updated: 06.04.2019
Sri Lanka and Indian cricket team after the finals

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Post their 1996 World Cup win Sri Lankan cricket team established themselves as one of the strongest teams in world cricket. The journey which started with players like Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, and Sanath Jayasuriya was then carried forward by two modern greats like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. There was the legend Murali and one of the finest limited over bowlers Lasith Malinga. However, despite this great ensemble of players, Sri Lanka could not deliver any global trophy for the next 18 years.

They were close though. They lost to Australia in the 2007 World Cup final to Australia and 2011 World Cup final to India despite a century by Mahela in the final. They were also beaten by Pakistan and West Indies in 2009 and 2012 World T20 final respectively. In all, they lost four global finals in the span of five years and their temperament was questioned.

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2014 World T20 was organized in Bangladesh. Both the senior statesmen Jayawardene and Sangakkara was in the last leg of their career and expected to retire from T20 post the tournament. Interestingly the captaincy was given to Lasith Malinga. Sri Lanka played well in the group stage. They only lost their match against England and won the rest three. In two of those wins against the Netherlands and New Zealand, they demolished their opponents for just 39 and 60 respectively as the bowlers led by Malinga was in great form. They reached their third world T20 final by beating the defending champion West Indies to take the revenge of previous final loss. In final they had to face India, arguably the best team in the tournament. India started the tournament by beating Pakistan in a tight chase followed by wins over West Indies, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. They also had an impressive win over South Africa to reach their second World T20 final.

However, in the final, it was all about Sri Lanka. Batting first Indian batsmen could not get going. Virat Kohli played another splendid knock but everyone else struggled around him. The struggle was most visible in Yuvraj Singh, India’s hero from 2011 World Cup win coming back after battling cancer. Malinga kept beating him outside off stump and all his effort to put the bat on ball was in vain. Yuvraj could score only a laboured 21-ball 11 and taken out all the momentum from the innings which ended for 130 in 20 overs.

In the chase, Indian bowlers tried their best but the experienced Sangakkara was at it again. In his last T20 innings, Sangakkara delivered a match-winning unbeaten 52 off 35 balls and anchored the chase. With the score on 78 for 4 in the 13th over, Indian bowlers still thought of a fight but Thisara Perera’s 14 balls 23 with 3 sixes ensured that Sri Lanka wins the final with two overs to spare.

It was a special win for the Island country and a special tribute to Mahela and Sanga for all the hard work from their side. The entire nation was on jubilant and gave them a grand welcome when the team returned with another global trophy.  

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