Cool Sangakkara Breaks Final Hoodoo

Sri Lanka 134 for 4 (Sangakkara 52*, Jayawardene 24) beat India 130 for 4 (Kohli 77) by 6 wickets

Winning world events is an ugly business. Even aspiring to win is. Ask Mahela Jayawardene andKumar Sangakkara. Before tonight they had reached finals four times, wanting desperately to win, and ended up with broken hearts each time. On a night that these two champion players finally got that monkey off their backs - in their last Twenty20 international match - another champion player played a poignant, cagey innings that cost his side the final.Yuvraj Singh, India's limited-overs talisman for so long, came in at 64 for 2 in the 11th over, scored 11 off 21, denied the unstoppable Virat Kohli the strike, and that spell of play resulted in the lowest first-innings total in a World Twenty20 final and the second-lowest score for the loss of only four wickets.

Title matches consume the vanquished. This final may have put down one of the all-time limited-overs greats, but just ask Jayawardene and Sangakkara, the redemption didn't come easy. India defended the small total admirably, preying on the Sri Lankan nerves, fielding everything down, spinning a web around the batsmen, but the two champions somehow had enough in them to take their side over the line. Under palpable pressure, against a shrewd limited-overs captain, Jayawardene settled the early nerves with a run-a-ball 24, and Sangakkara saw the chase through with an ice-cool unbeaten 52 off 35.

Big finals are a cruel business, though, and history will remember Yuvraj's knock as much as it will Sangakkara's. He has won India matches from nowhere on innumerable occasions, he has buried sides with his cameos, he has turned around games in 10 balls, which is why he was still part of the team in the final. MS Dhoni trusted his match-winner, and sent him in ahead of Suresh Raina and himself. Kohli, now the leading run-scorer in any World Twenty20, had just begun to put behind him a slow start against disciplined Sri Lankan bowling. He had even been dropped by opposition captain Lasith Malinga on 11. He was in a mood to make them pay.

Sri Lanka, though, kept their wits, and gave Yuvraj nothing to score off. That too after Kohli had laced the otherwise frugal Nuwan Kulasekara for six, four and six in the 16th over to make it 111 for 2. That over featured another slip in the fielding when the fielder at cow corner was lobbed after misjudging a catch. Normally you would expect teams to fall apart at these times, but Sri Lanka produced four superb overs.

(ESPN)

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