Jayawardene: 'World Cup final loss in India hurt'

Mahela Jayawardene, albeit scoring an unbeaten 103, ended up on the losing side in the 2011 World Cup final. He recounts that historic game, six years ago, against India at the Wankhede Stadium.

Mahela Jayawardene top-scored in the 2011 World Cup final with an unbeaten 103.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

Six years ago, this day, Sri Lanka, led by Kumar Sangakkara, lost to the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India in the ICC World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium here. The game’s lone centurion Mahela Jayawardene conceded on Sunday the defeat hurt at that time.

“I did not even remember it until I opened my Twitter account this morning. To be part of a World Cup final is always brilliant and to walk out at the Wankhede with 50,000 people screaming gives good memories,” said Jayawardene, who is now Mumbai Indians’ (MI) coach in IPL10.

“India was the better team on that day but it was six years ago and it’s in the past. A lot of things hurt in life.

I have lost four (ICC tournament) finals out of five. We learn from every mishap that happens and move on with life. It hurt at that point, but after that it’s just another game,” said the stylish batsman, who scored a magnificent 103 not out in that memorable clash.

Sri Lanka rode on his century to pile on an imposing 274 for six, but Dhoni led from the front with a brilliant, unbeaten 91 to guide India past the finish line to trigger wild celebrations across the length and breadth of the country on April 2, 2011.

Looking forward to his first stint at a major tournament as the head coach, Jayawardene said that MI would miss the services of a few players for the season opener against Rising Pune Supergiant in the away game on April 6.

“Mitch (Johnson) has played in the Big Bash (League) and Lasith (Malinga) is coming off after injury. We wanted him to play as much before coming here. He’s playing two T20s (Internationals against Bangladesh) which is good.”

“We play our first eight games in 16 or 18 days, which includes travelling and the experience factor does count. They have played enough cricket and preparation-wise they will be fine. We need to make sure we manage everyone properly.”