Two Asian powerhouses, highly familiar with each other's numerous positives and flaws, face-off in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 title in Mirpur (Dhaka) on Sunday. This contest, like most others, has a handful of mini-battles within them. Here's a list of the five top encounters of the cricketing kind.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Rangana Herath: The fight of the tweakers
World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, as expected, has been about the tweakers. Hence, it's no surprise that two teams with good quality spinners will grab considerable spotlight. With 10 wickets in five innings, Ravichandran Ashwin has re-discovered the form that went missing in recent overseas tours of South Africa and New Zealand. He has even bowled what is being deemed as 'Twenty20 ball of the century.'
Rangana Herath first warmed the bench and then set Chittagong on fire with the best bowling figures of 5/3 against New Zealand. The Kiwis had no clue what hit them in their virtual quarterfinal clash and were left to catch an early flight home. The left-arm spinner went wicketless for 27 against the West Indies but if there is turn and bounce on the day of the final, Herath is capable of spinning a magic web.
Vitat Kohli vs Mahela Jayawardene: Youth vs Experience
Virat Kohli continues to be in the form of his life, irrespective of formats. In his unrelenting penchant for runs, he has become the leading run-scorer in the tournament (with 242 runs in five innings) and has taken to run-chases like a seasoned sailor in choppy waters. Key for Lanka is to keep this man away from the wicket. (Why India are favourites to win World Twenty20 crown)
Mahela Jayawardene will play his final T20I and bid adieu along with his best friend on-and-off-the-field, Kumar Sangakkara. West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said, after the semi-final loss, that perhaps, the almighty wanted the legendary duo to have its swansong with a World Cup win. Jayawardene has 134 runs in five innings but the statistics suggests he is a massive big-match player with a hundred in ICC World Cup 2011 and 75 in Sri Lanka's successful campaign in the Asia Cup last month in Dhaka. Yet another final beckons, can he defy Dhoni & Co.?
Tillakaratne Dilshan vs Rohit Sharma: The fight of the maverick openers
Both Rohit Sharma and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been extremely unpredictable at the top of their respective batting line-ups but once on song, they have the potential to single-handedly turn the tide. In a tournament final, a good start often leads to favourable result. Both Rohit and Dilshan have the ability to score quick runs, the latter of course is famous for the "Dilscoop'. (MS Dhoni seeks treble)
Lasith Malinga vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: King of Yorkers vs Prince of swing
There are very few bowlers who've mastered the art of bowling a yorker with unbelievable accuracy and getting the better of the batting side in the death overs like Lasith Malinga has. He has just five wickets in five innings but a stingy economy rate of 5.92 runs an over has its own repurcussions. He has the potential to give the hardly tested Indian middle-order a few nightmares. Malinga has already singled out his main 'enemy' - Virat Kohli.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's natural ability to get the ball to move early on in the innings can have a devastating effect with an aggressive opener like Kusal Perera often looking to get his side off to a flyer. Counter-attack against Bhuvneshwar's swing may not be the wisest approach and the Lankan batsmen will need to rework their strategies. (Also read: Lanka will miss Mahela, Sanga, says Dhoni)
Angelo Mathews vs Ravindra Jadeja: All-rounder vs all-rounder
Ravindra Jadeja has been MS Dhoni's blue-eyed boy and a vital part of most of India's recent successes. His ability to bowl to his field and as per Dhoni's demands makes him a valuable left-arm spin option. Although he is yet to weild his willow in the tournament so far, the left-hander can smash a few valuable sixes and add to the team's total.
Sri Lanka's ODI skipper Angelo Mathews was Man of the Match in the semi-final clash against the West Indies. The all-rounder has the ability to score quick runs coming down the order. A brilliant fielder, Mathews is an intelligent bowler who mixes pace and bounce with deadly effect.