ICC World T20: Can Sri Lanka beat the ghosts of the past this time?
This is Sri Lanka’s fifth appearance in a world cup final
Fri, Oct 05, 2012 08:45:31 GMT
The Sri Lankan cricket team has always been a consistent performer in tournaments like World Cup. They were the semi-finalists in the 2003 50-over world cup under Sanath Jayasuriya’s captaincy. But the mighty Aussie came in their way.
From 2003 to 2007, a lot of things changed and by the time 2007 50-over World cup arrived the captaincy mantle was with the young and dynamic Mahela Jayawardene.
Skipper Jayawardene and coach Tom Moody made Sri Lanka perform as a cohesive unit. Their team had a blend of youth and experience. All these things paid-off as Sri Lankan side utilized the Caribbean conditions and reached the finals.
The 2007 50-over world cup final was a cliff-hanger of a contest and Sri Lanka went down fighting against the mighty defending champions Australia.
The 2007 inaugural T20 world cup was a disastrous one for Sri Lanka but the islanders came out with flying colours under Kumar Sangakkara’s captaincy in 2009 T20 world cup and defeated teams like Australia, West Indies and New Zealand comprehensively. But in the finals at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’ Lord’s they tasted defeat at the hands of Pakistan. Sri Lanka once again came close but missed it by a whisker.
In the 2011 50-over world cup, Sri Lanka played all of their group stage matches, quarter-final and semi-final in their home conditions and in front of their home crowd. They were one of the favourites and played like favourites. But at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Team India managed to pull off a win despite a poor start to their chase and Sri Lanka’s drought for a world cup win, after the 1996 world cup triumph, continued.
Its 2012 now and Sri Lanka is once again in the finals of the T20 world cup. The team is once again under the leadership of Mahela Jayawardene. Can Sri Lanka beat the ghosts of the past? Can they cope up with the pressure of the finals this time? This is the best opportunity for Sri Lanka to tide over the odds as they are playing in the conditions suited to them the most. They enjoy the home support too and they must be tired of the runners-up tag they get after every world cup final loss.
The time has perhaps come for Mahela Jayawardene and company to go all the way and stamp their authority and make Sri Lanka the world T20 champions or it would be yet another Sri Lankan tale of yet so close and yet so far.