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06-Oct-2012 17:00:00 GMT
Sri Lanka v West Indies, Final, World T20, Colombo

Sri Lanka Take on West Indies in Final

Colombo: Clinical Sri Lanka will test their skills against the flamboyant West Indies when both sides battle for their maiden World Twenty20 title in a mouth-watering final in Colombo on Sunday.

A sell-out crowd of 35,000 at the Premadasa stadium will offer boisterous support as Mahela Jayawardene's home team attempt to reverse fortunes after losing three finals in major meets since 2007.

Standing in the way will be the destructive West Indies batting led by opener Chris Gayle, who crushed Australia in Friday's semi-final with a scintillating 75 of 41 balls.

The West Indies recorded their biggest T20 victory, by 74 runs, after they posted 205-4, the highest total of the tournament, and then shot out the Australians for 131 in less than 17 overs.

Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels made light of the slow pitch that was regarded as unsuited to aggressive batting, helping themselves to 55 runs in the final three overs.

Sri Lanka defeated the West Indies by nine wickets in a practice game before the tournament and again by the same margin in the Super Eights, but Gayle was confident of ruining the hosts' party on Sunday.

Australia's bamboozled captain George Bailey offered Sri Lanka good, if obvious, advice on how to beat the West Indies -- get Gayle early.

Hosts Sri Lanka, meanwhile, were quietly confident they can stop the rampaging West Indies batsmen to win their first major title since the 1996 triumph in the 50-over World Cup.

Sri Lanka made the final of two successive World Cups in 2007 and 2011, and also the World Twenty20 in 2009, but were unable to cross the last hurdle when it mattered most.

Jayawardene, who led the side in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments, said his team's strategy on Sunday will be different from previous finals.

The classy Sri Lankans have lost just one of their six games in the tournament so far: a seven-overs-a-side rain-affected game against South Africa in Hambantota in the preliminary league.

Sri Lanka will be further boosted by the match-winning form of unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, who shares the top spot among bowlers with Watson at 11 wickets apiece, and sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who has eight scalps.

Teams form

Sri Lanka:
Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Akila Dananjaya Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga, Dilshan Munaweera.

West Indies: Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy (captain), Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Ravi Rampaul, Dwayne Smith, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Lendl Simmons.

Pitch and conditions
Expectedly the pitch for the second semi-final didn't assist spinners as much as the one for the first. It made sense too, for Sri Lanka to win the trial by spin, and then not allow the other semi-finalist a proper experience of what it is going to be like.

Stats and trivia

  • Jayawardene has himself led from the front with 210 runs, the fourth highest run-maker in the tournament behind Australian Shane Watson (249), Gayle (219) and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand (212).
  • Jayawardene has hit the most fours, 27.
  • Ajantha Mendis is the joint-highest wicket-taker at 11, along with Watson, and his nearest competitors still alive in the tournament are Lasith Malinga and Ravi Rampaul, who have taken eight wickets each.

Match facts
Sunday October 7, 2012 (day/night)
Start time 1900 local (1330 GMT)

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