Third time a charm for Sri Lanka?Comment on this story
MIRPUR, Bangladesh – Will it be third time lucky for Sri Lanka? The Sri Lankans have played in the World Twenty20 finals on two occasions, but have never walked away with the trophy.
Here are five things to know about the Sri Lankan team that will play Sunday's World Twenty20 final against India:
BAD HISTORY: In the T20 finals, Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan in the 2009 final and to the West Indies in 2012 despite having home advantage. Pakistan, and now India, are next best in terms of final appearances with two each.
AND MORE BAD HISTORY: Sri Lanka has to break the curse of losing in finals of World ICC events. It did win the 1996 World Cup but has lost in four finals over the last seven years. It lost to Australia in the 2007 World Cup final and to India four years later, as well as failing at the 2009 and 2012 World Twenty20s.
CAPTAIN CONUNDRUM: Pace bowler Lasith Malinga was always expected to be vital to Sri Lanka's hopes. But what people did not expect was that he would be leading the side despite original choice skipper Dinesh Chandimal being fit. In what was said to be a team decision, Chandimal was rested for the semifinal against the West Indies because of indifferent form, with Malinga going out for the toss.
PARTING GIFT: A victory at the World Twenty20 would be the ideal parting gift for former captains Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who have announced that they will not play any Twenty20 internationals after this tournament. Another stalwart, Tillakaratne Dilshan, may also not play international T20s for much longer either.
HERATH FACTOR: While all eyes were on the likes of Malinga and Ajantha Mendis, experienced left-arm spinner Rangana Herath struck it big when least expected. He finished with enviable figures of 5-3 against New Zealand in what was a must-win game to qualify for the semis. He went wicket-less in the semifinal against West Indies but is one extra weapon in Sri Lanka's armory. – Sapa-AP