Sri Lanka face a daunting Test of nerves by a dominant India in a ICC World Twenty20 final in Dhaka today that is rich with incentives for both teams.
If Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side win, India will be the first team to hold all three major limited-overs titles, having won the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year.
Sri Lanka will be seeking an end to an inexplicable losing streak in title matches, after losing twice in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals, as well as in the World T20 finals of 2009 and 2012. However, giving a fitting farewell to veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in their last T20 international and a US$1 million winning bonus offered by Sri Lankan officials may serve to inspire the team to break that skid.
Sri Lanka reached the final with a 27-run win over defending champions the West Indies through the Duckworth-Lewis calculations in a rain-hit semi-final on Thursday.
Sri Lanka T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal is expected to sit out again today, as he did on Thursday, to preserve the winning combination with pace bowler Lasith Malinga at the helm.
“Its a special day tomorrow and we have to do something special for Mahela and Sanga,” Malinga said on Saturday adding that the bonus was not on the team’s mind.
“We don’t think about how much money we will get, we play because we love to represent Sri Lanka and win for the country,” he said.
India have enjoyed an amazing run in the tournament, winning all four Super-10 league matches.
Dhoni said the prospect of holding all three titles was not on his, or the team’s, minds, adding: “We can think of that only after we have won.”
Before Sri Lanka take on India at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka, defending champions Australia are scheduled to take on England in the women’s final.