Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were given a great send-off as Sri Lanka beat India by six wickets in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 tournament final at Mirpur, which witnessed a totally different Sangakkara from what fans saw throughout the tournament till the final. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who will retire from international T20 cricket along with Mahela Jayawardene played his last T20I final, scored an impressive 55 runs off 42 balls to take his team through. (Highlights)
Adjudged the Man of the Match in the final for his performance, Sangakkara was happy to finally get the monkey off his back following a string of poor batting displays and was relieved that Sri Lanka broke the jinx by finally finishing as winners in their third World T20 final appearance.
"It has been a long time coming. We waited for five finals. I am pretty happy that I was able to do something for our team today. It means a lot to all of us. My family and playing for Sri Lanka are the two most important things that happened to me in my life. Everyone's got to go and my time is now," said Sangakkara, at the presentation ceremony.
Sri Lanka's veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene also seemed over the moon on finally being able to break the jinx that led to his team losing four big finals in six years.
"We finally managed to break the jinx. Thanks so much to family and friends but this one is for Sri Lankan fans who have been waiting since 1996. It wasn't a normal match and there were lot of emotions as this was my last T20 game. It hasn't sunk in yet and it will take a couple of days to get the feeling," said Jayawardene after the match.
Although Rangana Herath didn't play in all the matches for Sri Lanka, he was one of their trump cards in the tournament with a devastating spell of 5/3 against New Zealand in a vital group stage game that helped them reach the semis. He was happy to be able to give Sangakkara and Jayawardene a rousing send-off.
"This is the best send off for Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene). After 18 years, this is a different high," said Herath referring to the time when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup.
As soon as everyone in the dugout realized that Sri Lanka had won, a party atmosphere followed at the ground in Mirpur with former batting legend Sanath Jayasuriya also joining the team celebrations.
"The bowling was superb and then both Mahela (Jayawardene) and Sangakkara batted very well. Restricting them to 130 was the key. Even though we lost a few wickets early on, Mahela and Sanga are big game players," said a happy Jayasuriya.
Even Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews had something to say about the great win. While Dilshan was happy to win after losing five World Cup finals, Mathews was content to let Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara take all the credit for Sri Lanka's emphatic victory.
"We lost the last five World Cup finals but today was a great feeling to come back and win it. One of the three guys put their head up to do something for the team It's a fantastic win for Sri Lanka and a good farewell for two happy guys," Dilshan said.
"Sri Lanka this is for you. I am glad the whole team did it for Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene)," said an ecstatic Mathews.
Interestingly, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy had predicted before the match that Sri Lanka were destined to win the title this time. Sri Lanka had beaten the West Indies in a rain-affected semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament through the Duckworth-Lewis method.
A huge number of Sri Lankan fans had converged happily across various places in Colombo to cheer for their team during the final against India. The bigger party, however, is still to follow.