It isn’t always the case that the best two sides in a tournament reach the final, especially in T20 cricket, when one player can produce an individual performance to win a game, literally on his own.
However, the final of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 Tournament in Mirpur on Sunday, will see the best two teams face each other, just as they did in the 2011 World Cup final. Once more Sri Lanka will face their great Asian rivals India.
Sri Lanka made it through to the final, after their semi-final ended in somewhat unsatisfactory circumstances, when a rain and hail storm engulfed the stadium, and left the outfield flooded. Sri Lanka, therefore, advanced at the expense of the defending champions the West Indies.
The result was a reverse of the 2012 final, when the West Indies had defeated the hosts in the final, condemning Sri Lanka to their second defeat in a world T20 final, and means that since its inception in 2007, no side has yet successfully managed to defend the title.
Twice runners-up, they now have a chance of capturing the World T20 for the first time and giving Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara the perfect send-off in their final games before T20 international retirement.
The toss in Mirpur on Sunday might prove vital, if statistics are to be believed. Sri Lanka have won 11 of their last 13 T20 internationals batting first, while seven of the last nine matches in the tournament have also been won by the side making first use of the pitch.
Sunday’s opponents India, have been the most impressive side throughout the tournament, winning their pool comfortably, with four wins from four matches. The 2007 champions, then saw off the challenge of South Africa in the semi-final.
Once more, it was the strong Indian batting line up that saw them through a challenging match in the last four. Virat Kohli leading the way, with 72 not out, off of 44 balls, as they reached their target of 173 with five balls remaining.
If India complete the competition unbeaten by beating Sri Lanka, they will hold all the major limited overs trophies; the World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20. The first country to ever do so.