ICC World Twenty20: Mahendra Singh Dhoni seeks to become first captain to win World Cup treble

Updated: 05 April 2014 15:42 IST

While Team India will be seeking to become the first country to win two World T20 titles, the team's skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself has a chance of walking into the pages of the record books by becoming the first captain to win three World titles.

ICC World Twenty20: Mahendra Singh Dhoni seeks to become first captain to win World Cup treble

Mirpur, Bangladesh:

In sublime form through the tournament, India would be aiming to become the first team to win the World Twenty20 title for a second time but a gutsy Sri Lanka stands in the way in what promises to an exciting summit clash between the subcontinental rivals in Mirpur on Sunday. (Read: How Kohli battled body pain to take India into final)


While Team India will be seeking to become the first country to win two World T20 titles, the team's skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself has a chance of walking into the pages of the record books by becoming the first captain to win three World titles.

Australia's Ricky Ponting and West Indies' Clive Lloyd were the other two captains who have led the team to two world titles.

Life will certainly come full circle for Dhoni if he lifts the coveted trophy at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Sunday. In 2007, he had led a young team whom nobody gave a chance, to a brilliant triumph.

Since then, India became the No 1 ranked Test nation, won the 2011 World Cup and now they are back in World T20 finals.

It started with the shortest format and it will certainly be an enriching experience being in that zone again for MSD and his boys.

While current form and history of winning big finals certainly make the 'Men In Blue' favourites, one can't simply rule out the prophetic statement made by West Indies skipper Darren Sammy.

"Almighty wants Mahela and Sanga to win a World Cup and leave on a high," he had said after the semi-final loss against Sri Lanka. Will there be a divine intervention? It is difficult to say.

Can overriding emotions overpower a form team which in all practical terms has been cut above the others in this competition? Only time will tell.

The Indian team has had a dream run in this tournament so far, winning five straight matches including the semi-final with an authoritative display.

Be it about setting targets or chasing them, Dhoni's boys have been up for the task on each and every occasion. (Read: Had self belief to chase the target, says Dhoni)

While the spinners led by Ravichandran Ashwin have set up games with superlative efforts, the batsmen, led by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, have ensured that they respect the contribution of the bowlers by winning the matches with minimum fuss. (Read: Kohli's classy 72 helps India storm into final | Highlights)

Such has been the impact of the younger crop of players that Dhoni, considered to be one of the finest players in this format, has not been required in trying circumstances. But then, the Indian captain is a 'Big Match' player. (Read: Kohli gratefully accepts Dhoni's gift)

The Sri Lankan team and especially Nuwan Kulasekara would not easily forget that final 'Helicopter shot' that went soaring into the Wankhede Stands in the 2011 ODI World Cup final.

The two teams will be meeting in another World Cup final after exactly three years and three days.

The win will also give Dhoni a chance to complete a rare treble in one cycle having also won the Champions Trophy in England last year.

India versus Sri Lanka matches have happened with such monotonic regularity that one has lost count. But since most of these matches were in the 50-over formats, the T20 will certainly add a new flavour to this rivalry.

Since the players from both teams have been pitted against each other on so many occasions, there is little element of mystery left in the composition of the two teams.

The Indians have a set team and with Ajinkya Rahane having a moderately good day in office against South Africa in the semi-finals, the doors are shut on Shikhar Dhawan for the time being.

Mohit Sharma was a bit nervous during the semi-final but Dhoni is not known for making changes readily though he has Mohammed Shami in the reserve bench.

In 2007, it was the day of unheralded Haryana-lad Joginder Sharma to bowl the historic final over of the innings. In 2014, it will be another Haryana youngster Mohit, who might have to raise his hand up if the circumstances demand.

The rest of the team is set. Ashwin has gone from strength to strength in this tournament improving with each and every match. (Read: Ashwin records many 'firsts' in ICC World Twenty20)

Even when the Amit Mishras and Bhuvneshwar Kumars were being punished by Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, the other night, Ashwin came back unscathed with brilliant figures of three for 22. Virat Kohli was spot on in his assessment of the bowler.

"Had Ashwin not bowled brilliantly, the target could well have been 195 and credit to him for the manner in which he bowled," he said.

For Sri Lanka, it will be shedding their inhibitions in a big final and at least try to be third-time lucky when it comes to T20 World Cups.

They have lost in the 2009 and 2012 finals. Not to forget their loss in the 50-over final in the West Indies back in 2007 and against India in 2011.

This is their fifth ICC tournament final in seven years and they will certainly want to win it for Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

The two legends of Sri Lankan cricket would want to leave the T20 International arena on a high and also would like to know how it feels to be world champions.

They have been champion players in their own rights. The Lahiru Thirimannes and Kusal Pereras would ideally want to give a memorable parting gift to the Lankan legends by winning the Cup.

On their part, Jayawardene and Sangakkara would also like to put up a good show in their final T20 International match.

Especially Sangakkara, who has had a horrible tournament so far. But one big innings in the final would erase all that.

The affable Jayawardene, who for once did not change his style of batting in the 'slam-bang' version, would like to show his artistry one last time in this format.

The pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium will not make much of a difference as both teams will be loaded with spinners and have batsmen who are adept at playing against slow bowlers.

Regular captain Dinesh Chandimal might again have to sit out in order to accommodate Herath.

But then winning finals is an art and this Indian team under Dhoni has perfected that in recent times. So it will be advantage India.

Teams

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Kusal Perera, TM Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayeke, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna.



Topics : Cricket
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