The knockout hoodoo ends for Sri Lanka; begins for India

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06 Apr 2020 | 07:00 AM
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Ashish Pant

The knockout hoodoo ends for Sri Lanka; begins for India

The 2014 World T20 ended a streak of win-less finals for Sri Lanka. However, a similar spell began for India

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India's World Cup win in 2011 followed by their emphatic win at the Champions Trophy 2013 had made them an absolute powerhouse of world cricket. In the interim, they had also been ranked the No.1 team on the Test circuit while being the reigning World Champions in ODIs.

However, success in the T20 World Cup had still eluded them. They won the inaugural tournament held in South Africa in 2007 but since had not been able to qualify for the final even once in the following three editions. That seemed like changing in the 2014 edition, in Bangladesh.

India started off with a thumping win over Pakistan in the group stages and carried on unscathed right through. The Men in Blue then got the better of South Africa in the semi-final to set up another final date with Sri Lanka on this day in 2014.

THE MATCH
 

Before the final, India and Sri Lanka had met each other five times in T20 matches with the latter leading by a 3-2 margin. In addition, the growing stature of IPL coupled with India's stupendous form had made them firm favourites going into the final.

India, sent into bat, lost Ajinkya Rahane early for 3. But, Rohit Sharma and semi-final hero Virat Kohli, kept them in the game. While Rohit struggled on a two-paced Dhaka surface, Kohli was at his fluent best. India reached 64/1 at the end of 10 overs before Rangana Herath removed Rohit for 29. Kohli then notched up a gear as he found the boundaries on a regular basis. However, Yuvraj Singh at the other end struggled to get going.

India reached a respectable 111/2 after the 16-over mark and would have hoped for some lusty blows in the last four but Yuvraj's inability to manoeuvre the ball around brought about their undoing. Kohli, on an absolute hot streak, could only face 8 balls in the last four overs as India managed just 19 runs between overs 16 to 20 to reach an underwhelming 130/4.

Yuvraj, with a strike-rate of 52.38 could only score 11 off 21 deliveries. He did not have a single boundary during his knock. Kohli, who was dismissed off the final ball of the innings struck a superb 58-ball 77 but lack of strike in the final stages meant India were behind the eight-ball.
With the pitch slowing down, the target was still going to be tough to chase and Mohit Sharma helped India draw first blood when he got rid of Kusal Perera in just the second over. Quick wickets were the order of the day and while India did have Sri Lanka at 78/4 in the 13th over at one stage, the wily Kumar Sangakkara held steady at one end.
He got the much-needed assistance from Thisara Perera who struck a quickfire 14-ball 23 to get Sri Lanka closer. In the end Sangakkara's unbeaten 35-ball 52 was enough to get Sri Lanka over the line by six wickets and 13 balls to spare.

Sri Lanka had broken the final hoodoo and for Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, who were both playing their final T20 International, a title was the most appropriate way to sign off. Sangakkara was named the Player of the Match while Kohli was adjudged Player of the Tournament.

WHAT FOLLOWED
 

While Sri Lanka ended their long wait to an ICC title, India's horrendous luck in knockout affairs began, starting at the ODI World Cup 2015, Australia.

ICC ODI World Cup 2015 - Australia

India were on an absolute roll in the tournament. They topped the group stage with six wins out of six and with the bowlers clicking every game would have been hoping for a similar show in the semis. But they met a firing Australian unit against whom they had no answers. Batting first, Australia on the back of a 93-ball 105 from Steve Smith slammed 328/7. The Men in Blue were never really in the chase and fell well short by 95 runs.  

ICC T20 World Cup 2016 - India
 

India once again were the dominant force in the group stage, winning three of their four matches. Led by a breathtaking 47-ball 89* from Kohli, India racked up 192/2 from their 20 overs. However, they came up short against the might of the West Indies batting unit. Jonathan Charles started off with a 36-ball 52 but the sucker blow was struck by Lendl Simmons who smashed 82* while Andre Russell too provided the finishing touches smashing a 20-ball 43* to knock India out.

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - England
 

The Indians got off to a solid start annihilating Pakistan by 124 runs (D/L) method. They then got the better of Sri Lanka and South Africa in the group stages and then Bangladesh in the semi-final to storm into the final. They, however, could not replicate the same success in the final against Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman's 106-ball 114 saw Pakistan thunder their way to 338/4. Mohammad Amir then broke India's back with three wickets upfront reducing them to 33/3. The Men in Blue, eventually were all out for just 158 to lose by 180 runs.

ICC World Cup 2019 - England
 

 Another ICC event, another strong performance from the Men in Blue. India were up and running from the word go as they notched up seven wins in nine games of the round-robin stage to wallop into the semi-finals as the top-ranked side. But they came up against a resurgent New Zealand outfit in the knockouts. In a low-scoring affair that was pushed into the reserve day because of consistent rain, India lost by 18 runs.

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Kumar Chokshanada SangakkaraDenagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva JayawardeneVirat KohliMahendra Singh DhoniYuvraj Singh

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