When it became clear that India will face Sri Lanka yet again in another final for a world title, the images of the win on the night of 2nd April 2011 in the Wankhede were revived in the minds of many. That was the night the world bid farewell to Muttiah Murlidharan, the Sri Lankan great who troubled the best of the batsmen around the world in all kinds of conditions. Although the end of such a highlighted career proved to be rather meek as the Lankan lions lost the finals to India by 6 wickets.
In an amazing turn of events, India was to face Sri Lanka in the finals of another world cup, this time the T20 format. The match was going to be played on 6th of April and the venue was Mirpur. This time it was going to be the last game of two legends of Sri Lankan and world cricket, two gentlemen who are the idols of sportsmanship in the gentlemen game. This time around though, the end of the story turned out to be in the favor of the departing heroes as Sri Lanka beat India by 6 wickets, their win also coming by a six of the last delivery, ironically the same way the finals of 2011 ended. It was a great end to two great careers in the shorter format and both these gentlemen deserved every bit of the success that they achieved in their final game after losing 4 finals on the trot in major ICC tournaments.
And it was not like both of them rode on the back of the team to receive the grand send off, both the batsmen delivered when it mattered the most. Jayawardene came in the middle in the second over itself, when Mohit Sharma had picked up the wicket of Kushal Perera and the Lankan team was in danger of losing their way at 5/1. He batted sensibly along with Tillakratne Dilshan and made sure that the Lankans survive the Power play overs without any further damage.
Sanga on the other hand joined Jayawardene after the fall of Dilshan’s wicket. He made sure he stayed there till the end and there were no major hiccups, something that the Lankans were now famous of committing in pressure situations. He scored a total of 52 runs from just 35 deliveries and took care of the highly successful and equally dangerous Indian spin attack.
All in all it was a perfect end to the careers of two of the most influential and talented cricketers in the shorter format of the game, both of them will still be playing ODI’s and test matches but their presence in the T20 format will be highly missed.