Hail the Lankan veterans!

Kumar Sangakkara with the Man of the Match trophy. He guided his team to victory in the final.-AP

The overall experience in the Sri Lankan ranks played a huge role in them handling tight situations in the tournament. Their finesse was a delight to watch, as there was hardly any hustle and bustle that is synonymous with the T20 format.

The T20 World Cup went according to the script, in that two sub-continent sides clashed for the trophy. Both India and Sri Lanka were adept at making use of the pitches that helped spinners but in the end, the Lankans proved to be too good on the day that mattered. Their bowlers were spot-on in executing the yorker-length deliveries around the off-stump to keep the batsmen under control. There will be many who will criticise Yuvraj Singh for not getting a move on but it will be rather harsh to pin the blame on one individual. It has to be remembered that the Indian batting line-up except the top order did not have enough opportunities in the earlier games which was a factor as well.

In a T20 game, it is not about how well a side starts but how well it finishes. In that respect, the Indians were found wanting in not being able to finish the innings on a strong note. Despite the fact that the Indian spinners were ruling the roost in the tournament, restricting a side comprising good players of spin to under six an over was a big ask. Sangakkara was in good form right through and he ensured that the Lankans went past the line without any hiccup. The veterans, Sangakkara and Jayawardene, displayed the right proportion of composure expected of them during the critical phase of the innings.

Team India will be disappointed, but one wonders what their campaign would have been had the pitches not been spinner friendly. The medium-pace department is still unsettled and the biggest handicap is that the Indian camp lacks a real good all-rounder. Stuart Binny has been a part of the squad but somehow the team management did not show enough faith in him. Then, of course, it will not really help anyone’s cause in viewing things in hindsight. However, the gap in the bowling department needs to be filled before it gets to a point of no return.

The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, were served well by their medium-pacers, while Herath had a dream of a tournament. The left-arm spinner does not complicate matters as he just bowls his overs without trying too many things. The overall experience in the Sri Lankan ranks played a huge role in them handling tight situations in the tournament. Their finesse was a delight to watch, as there was hardly any hustle and bustle that is synonymous with this format. It was their cool-headed bowlers who made it possible for them to stifle the big hitters from the West Indies in the semifinal. Quite obviously, the confidence level of the Sri Lankan seamers was far superior to others in the World Cup.

Though it is disappointing to see India fail at the final hurdle, the tournament did provide excellent cricket. The reigning champions West Indies faltered due to their over-cautious approach and at times one wonders whether the senior players in the team were all pursuing the same objective. South Africa yet again failed in the knock-out phase, and it is very difficult to comprehend such a highly talented and competitive team repeatedly faltering in the knock-out. Unfortunately, it has been happening almost on a regular basis which perhaps underlines the fact why the knock-out stage is considered huge.

After a quick trip back home, most of the players will congregate for the IPL in the UAE wherein the players will fight hard for their franchisees. Well, who said the T20 format will not find favour with the public?