Sri Lanka downs India, bags T20 title

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Mirpur, Pakistan (4E Sports) – Kumar Sangakkara recorded 52 not out to guide Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory over India to capture the World Twenty20 crown, ending a run of four defeats in the global stage.

Playing in his final Twenty20 international, Sangakkara’s output helped Sri Lanka chase down 131 in 17.5 overs.

Also, the Sri Lankans’ tight bowling limited India to 130-4 despite Virat Kohli’s sublime 77 off 58 balls as they recovered from a string of losses in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals and the 2009 and 2012 T20 finals.

Sangakkara and veteran team-mate Mahela Jayawardene were involved in all four of those disappointments, and this was a fitting way for both to bow out of international T20 cricket.

Victory was particularly sweet for Sangakkara, who had scored only 19 runs in his previous five innings in the tournament but oversaw a patient run chase that was finished off in style when Thisara Perera clubbed Ravichandran Ashwin for his third six.

“It’s been a long time coming.. Waited five finals. Pretty happy I was able to do something for our team. It means a lot to all of us. We are very humbled by this. The way Kohli was batting, he was about to take the game away from us, but the way we bowled was brilliant,” Sangakkara said.

“My family and playing for Sri Lanka are the two most important things that happened to me in my life. Everyone’s got to go and my time is now,” he added.

World Cup and Champions Trophy winners India were hoping to become the first team to hold all three limited-overs trophies.

However, its quest was undermined by a disappointing batting performance that stalled badly after Rohit Sharma drove to short extra cover in the 11th over for 29 to break a second-wicket partnership of 60 with Kohli.

Yuvraj Singh, so often a destructive batsman in the shorter forms of the game, looked horribly out of touch as he scratched around for 11 off 21 balls.

With Kohli starved of the strike, the innings lost all momentum and even Mahendra Dhoni could add only four from seven balls after Yuvraj’s tame lob to long-off finally brought the captain to the crease in the penultimate over.

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