Sri Lanka are the world champions


SENTIMENTAL favourites Sri Lanka gave two of their greatest sons the best farewell present when they upset India in a quite one-sided final in Dhaka, to land the elusive Twenty-20 (T20) championship to go with the World Cup they won in 1996.

It was fitting tribute that both legends contributed to the victory and even more so that Kumar Sangakkara was on an unbeaten half century as the winning runs were struck by Thilsara Perera.

Mahela Jayawardene contributed a run a ball 21 to ensure not too many hiccups occurred as they chased a modest total amidst immense pressure from the Indians. The world of T-20 will miss the two legends, but will remember them very fondly.

It was a crest fallen moment as I switched to the final only to see a massive amount of covers on the field. After all the build-up I had to the final, was this the way it was going down? The weather had mostly behaved in the tourney with West Indies the only casualties of the dreaded Duckworth-Lewis method.

There was a large of outcry about their exit at the semi final stage, but as Yuvraj Singh would learn in the cruellest of circumstances, you cannot always want to play catch-up. Sometimes you need to be ahead of the game, because you never catch up. An analyst calculated that had Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels batted at a 100% strike rate the Windies would have made the final. They had hoped that Darren Sammy would bail them out again, but on that fateful day the weather had very different ideas.

India came into the final somewhat undercooked as a lot of their victories had not tasted their middle order batting mainly due to the prowess of Virat Kholi. Everyone waited to see how the middle order would handle the pressure in a crucial game should the need arise. Well it did and they failed dismally.

Even the usually cool and collected Mahendra Singh Dhoni fired blanks. The famous helicopter shot was off radar and the Sri Lankan depth bowling won hands down. Problems started for India when Yuvraj Singh arrived at the crease and looked like a whale out of water.

He used up a lot of valuable deliveries and worse still kept man of the tournament Kholi away from strike. The frustration was evident even on the Indian bench as Singh chewed up the balls. At one stage he tried to hit out or get out, but failed and the pendulum swung the Sri Lankan way and they never really swung it back after that.

A lot of Indian legends have come out in support of Singh and his achievements in the past including recovering from lung cancer and smashing Stuart Broad for six 6s in one over. He was the man of the tournament when India won in 2007, but how quickly people forget and as the saying goes you are as good as your last innings.

There are unconfirmed rumours that some fans pelted his house with stones after the final. The behaviour is barbaric and uncalled for, but shows how much wining means to some people. Imagine if we stoned houses every time our team loses, there would be no windows left in Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka, since their shock win in the 1996 World Cup final seems omnipresent in International Cricket Council (ICC) event finals and they finally made it to the winner’s podium. It was good to see contributions from Lasith Malinga who as stand-in captain played three and won three at the tournament.
The world is not the same without the tournament, but the IPL (India Premier League) is just around the corner and the fun and huge 6s start all over again. It will be good to see how the likes of AB Devilliers and Gayle go without the pressure of the entire nation on their shoulders. Zimbabweans will be itching to see how captain Brandon Taylor goes in his first IPL. I wish him all the best to fly the flag high and put Zimbabwe on the map.
A tense atmosphere still grips the cricket fraternity in Zimbabwe as the new structure and business plan is set to bat into effect end of this month. The massive steamlining exercise has many wondering if they will still be employed come the first of next month. Speculation is high and everyone has their version of who should stay or go. There have been reports that the ICC has adopted the new business plan and will pay off the ZC’s crippling debt.
On the Crease hopes the new structures will bear fruit where it matters most, the field of play and Zimbabwe can once again be a force to reckon with in international cricket.
Q is for “quickie”, a term for a fast bowler.