PLEDGE THEIR SUPPORT FOR COUNTRY TO WIN ANOTHER WORLD CUP
By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka’s T20 World Champions of 2014 relived the moments nine years hence on April 6 in a moving flashback to the landmark achievement, while rallying around the contemporary T20 Team, echoed their expectations for a repeat performance by Sri Lanka touch gold in the Everest of cricket’s most scintillating action oriented format that has enveloped the game. Lasith Malinga, the captain of the champion 2014 team, while recalling on SLC YouTube that momentous achievement, while once again roundly thanking the cricket loving public for rallying round the team, pledged his total support for the current team in voicing his desire to see Sri Lanka win another world cup. “We have been rallying round the team giving my expertise support as well as Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Rangana Herath, and pledge to do everything possible on the coaching front to see Sri Lanka win another world cup in this format,” he enthused.
Former captain, Angelo Mathews, who was also a member of the victorious 2014 team that defeated India in the 2014 cup final, while airing that being a member of that champion team was the greatest moment in his cricketing career realising world cup glory which was the ultimate zenith dream of a player, said, “Our backing is there supportive for the country to win another T20 world cup.”
Meanwhile, former captain Mahela Jayawardene recalled the motivating now or never urgency to world cup glory that was the final fling to mounting cricket’s Everest for him and his cricketing comrade Kumar Sangakkara. “After several flings which had just fallen short of cup glory Sanga and I resolved that this was it for the two of us to achieving the ultimate,” aired Mahela recapturing the moments of nine years ago in defeating India by 6 wickets in the final at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. The twosome of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene aboard YouTube recaptured those culminating moments of motoring it from the airport to the rejoicing of an overwhelming multitude of home fans at the Galle Face Green that remain everlasting to cherish. It is a fitting throwback to the glory days to cheering up today’s T20 cricket Team with Kumar Sangakkara quick to voicing that ‘we are always there to support our cricketers of today.’
Indeed, this right handed and left handed twosome of exquisitely contrasting stylised batting greats bonded through the game to erstwhile friends to fanning out opposition attacks written in that epoch making 624-run third-wicket partnership against South Africa in 2006, did a day ago, project that patriotic feeling of landing the jackpot or gold at the highest summit of cricket. As Mahela was to reminisce, following three failed world cup attempts ‘when we almost made it, Kumar and I had spoken how important this last fling was to achieving world cup glory. Rangana Herath had done the spade work with the ball in getting us to the final, and chasing India’s 130/4 target, Kumar and I had cruised along smoothly until I went after a half bowler that undid it. But we had Angelo and Thisara down the line for the finish as did Thisara go out and do it.’
The replays do stay livid in the follow up as Thisara Perera, in his prime smashes the ball around going over the top thrice for a quick fire unbeaten 23 off 14 in that final assault with Sangakkara remaining unbeaten on 52 off 35 filled with 6 boundaries and a six.
Hearing Kumar Sangakkara go down memory lane is as memorably moving as he recalls that ‘I was out of form and had in fact spoken to the captain and Mahela and wanted to opt out, but they insisted I play and that motivated me for which I am grateful to them.’
The rest is history as he recalls with pride that classic unbeaten Player of the Final that was to be the cornerstone to nailing India to that final hurrah.
As the famous duo make out, the world cup is the ultimate zeal to greatness which they cherish to this day that was to flame in that final celebrative mood mingling with thronging home fans. Like Mahela, Kumar too treasures the tumultuous moments that ‘it was as milestone a moment for our cricket fans.’
FLASHBACK SCORECARD 2014 T20 World Cup Final:
India 130/4 (20 Overs) (Virat Kohli 77, Rohit Sharma 29, Yuvraj Singh 11, M.S. Dhoni n.o. 4, Rangana Herath 1/23, Angelo Mathews 1/25, Nuwan Kulasekara 1/29)
Sri Lanka 134/4 (17.5 Overs) (Kumar Sangakkara n.o. 52, Mahela Jayawardene 24 , Thisara Perera n.o. 23, Tillsksratne Dilshan 18, Suresh Raina 1/24, Mohit Sharma 1/18, Ravichandran Ashwin 1/29, Amit Mishra 1/32)