Mirpur (Bangladesh), April 5: In a repeat of the 50-over 2011 World Cup final, familiar foes India and Sri Lanka will clash in the World Twenty20 final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here Sunday.
While India is the only unbeaten side in the tournament, Sri Lanka haven’t fared too badly either, their only loss being against England.
India are on the cusp of a momentous record and if Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys win the final they would become the first team to hold all three major limited overs titles, having won the 50-over 2011 World Cup and the Champions Trophy last year.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will look to right the wrongs in major title matches, having lost the 50-over World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011.
They also ended runners-up in the World T20 2012, losing to the West Indies, and in the 2009 edition when Pakistan beat them.
India themselves have not had the rub of the green in the shortest format of the game after winning the inaugural tournament in 2007.
They have failed to reach even a single knock-out stage of the World T20 since winning in South Africa.
But an in-form Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra, who have bagged 10 and nine wickets each, juxtaposed with some solid batting from the top order, especially Virat Kohli (241) Rohit Sharma (171 runs), have turned India’s fortunes around.
Dhoni’s decision to drop Shikhar Dhawan and play Ajinkya Rahane has proved right. Though, the Indian skipper will have to take another crucial call Sunday whether to bring back Mohammad Shami or persist with the inexperienced Mohit Sharma.
The Haryana pacer, who made his T20 debut against Australia, did well in his first match giving away 11 runs and picking up a wicket. But in the semi-final against South Africa, Mohit went for 34 runs in his three overs.
Sri Lanka, too, have their selection problems.
It remains to be seen if captain Dinesh Chandimal, who dropped himself in favour of in-form Lahiru Thirimanne, will sit out again.
If he does, stand-in captain Lasith Malinga will face the dilemma of getting his spin combination right.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who picked up five wickets giving away just three runs in Sri Lanka’s final group game against New Zealand, is a sure starter.
Sachithra Senanayake, too, has done very well and would be hard to keep out. Malinga and Sri Lanka’s backroom staff will have to decide if they go for a three-pronged spin attack and if they do, will they once again leave out the dangerous Ajantha Mendis for inexperienced leggie Seekkuge Prasanna, who impressed in the semi-final against the West Indies.
They might bring back Mendis seeing his record against India.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Seekkuge Prasanna, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis
Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough (on-field umpires), Rod Tucker (third umpire), Bruce Oxenford (fourth umpire), David Boon (match referee)