Debashish Das previews the final of the ICC World Twenty20 2014, which will see 2007 champions India take on twice runners-up Sri Lanka.
This lad Virat Kohli can never go wrong while chasing a total and in yesterday’s match against South Africa he proved once again why he is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen around the cricketing world across all formats.
He possesses nerve of steel, a head as cool as a cucumber and as long as he is at the crease billions of Indian breathes easy. He is a fighter with great determination and possesses a brain that runs faster than a super computer.
His brilliant innings made sure that India will once again take on Sri Lanka in the final of yet another ICC global tournament.
There is a lot to learn about how to chase a big total from this Indian batting lineup. For a change India got off to a flying start scoring 39 runs for the first wicket in 3.5 overs which gave Kohli some breathing time to play himself in.
Once Rohit Sharma departed, Ajinkya Rahane kept on playing his strokes and was never bogged down; as a result the required run rate never went beyond the reach of the batsmen to come. Then a couple of crucial partnerships between Kohli and Yuvraj Singh and then between Sureh Raina and Kohli sealed the match for India.
Each and every batsman contributed and Kohli was the nucleus of yet another successful chase. Indian batsmen are redefining how to approach the batting in T20 matches; you don’t have to play extravagant shots or scoops to score quickly but proper cricketing shots with correct execution will sail you through.
Ravichandran Ashwin once again showed his class with the ball and his spell really made sure India don’t have to chase a total beyond 190. The ball which bowled Hashim Amla was a top class carom ball and a batsman like Amla didn’t have any clue.
Amit Mishra had an off day and JP Duminy along with Faf du Plessis played him really well; that resulted in the Proteas setting up a big total for India to chase.
The Indian pacers once again leaked runs during death overs and bowled many boundary balls along with some rare dots. Sri Lanka would have taken a note of that and if the Islanders play sensibly during middle overs, they can really target the last overs to score big.
Sri Lanka looks to be the only team in the tournament who can stop the ramping Indian side. Like India they have a bunch of quality spin bowlers and of course having Lasith Malinga in the side is a huge advantage.
The emotions in the Sri Lankan camp will be quite high as the T20 final will also be the last T20 International match for the two greats, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
Sri Lanka played quite superbly against the West Indies and literally choked them with their disciplined bowling. They were always ahead of West Indies and clearly the better side on display during their semi-final match.
Bowling to the Indian batsmen will always be a challenge for any bowling lineup but the Islanders are fully equipped to tie them down. Moreover scoring off Malinga will not be that easy but if your name is Virat Kohli then it’s a different matter.
Talking of Sri Lankan batting, they also have a solid batting lineup and while it may not be as flamboyant as the Indian side, that does not mean that they will not be effective.
Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Mathews are all proven match-winners and on their day can demolish the Indian bowlers. The biggest advantage for them will be that they will play the Indian spinners better than any other team which might be a decisive factor in the final.
For Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli will their biggest threat and they will try everything possible to get him out cheaply.
Both teams have played enough against each other to know strengths and weaknesses but whoever can execute their plans correctly will emerged as winners. The ghost of the ICC World Cup 2011 final will always be there at the back of their mind when they will take the field against India.
I will go with India to win the finals as they have been too strong throughout the tournament and haven’t done any wrong till now but remember Sri Lanka will be a tough nut to crack.
We have a mouth-watering final to look forward for, enjoy the game!
© Cricket World 2014