|Virat Kohli, in Dhaka, on Sunday
Dhaka: Kumar Sangakkara was lost for words on Sunday.
Sri Lanka reached the final of a world meet four times in the last seven years, but failed every time. On Sunday, though, they didn’t let their fifth chance slip as they beat India in the World T20 final by six wickets.
The emotions were so overwhelming that Sangakkara, who was the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 35-ball 52, couldn’t answer for a few seconds when asked how was the feeling of finally winning a final, that too on his last day as a T20 International player.
“It’s amazing... I don’t know to describe it. I can’t explain... This is the first time that I have been a part of a World Cup-winning team. We were disappointed on four occasions earlier... I think you feel very humble at the end of it... You realise that you have got the reward for your hard work. We’ve waited for long and I couldn’t be happier or prouder,” Sangakkara said.
Asked if he felt that Sunday’s victory was something that the game gifted him after he served it for all these years, Sangakkara said: “I don’t think the game owes us players anything... It’s our job to play well when there’s an opportunity. You need all of luck and abilities... You need a combination of everything.”
Captain Lasith Malinga had said before the match that they wanted to do something special for Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara as it was their last T20 International. But Sangakkara thinks that the victory is not for individuals, it’s for their country. “I know that the team really meant what they said... But I would like to point out that it was for everyone... It was for our country. It’s a journey and everyone played a part in it.”
Sangakkara insisted that until the final few moments, he wasn’t emotional at the ground. “I wasn’t emotional till the very end... I believe that if you can use your emotions to your advantage, then go for it... Or else, forget it. You should always stay in the game and not relax.”
About his innings, he said that he was very positive in his approach and wasn’t cautious as he usually is when the side loses two wickets pretty early. “I watched the ball better today... I was a lot more positive than I usually am when the team is two wickets down without too many runs on the board.”
Praising the Lankan bowlers for giving just 19 runs in the last four overs of the Indian innings, Sangakkara said: “I haven’t seen such fantastic last four overs being bowled to a batsman like Kohli, who was batting so well and to someone like Dhoni. It goes on to show what a good bowling line-up we have.”
Malinga was all praise for Sangakkara. “He was struggling a bit earlier... I always told him that it’s a matter of just one good innings. He did very well today... Mahela, too, used all his experience. We had to do something special today. That’s why we gave our best,” Malinga said.
He also said that he enjoyed his captaincy. “When the tournament began, I was not the captain... Then when Dinesh Chandimal couldn’t play a match, the selectors decided to make me the captain... I have played in this team for 10 years... I know every single player and what their capabilities are. I enjoyed my job.”
He insisted that their victory came with hard work and that he didn’t believe in luck. “After a victory, some will say it’s luck, some will say it’s talent. But I don’t believe in luck... We had the talent, we worked hard, implemented our plans and so we won today,” Malinga said.
Mahela Jayawardene was happy that Sri Lanka could finally break the jinx of losing in the finals of world events. “We could finally break the jinx. Even though we were consistent, we could not do so earlier. We did it today. I thank my family and friends, but this one is for the Sri Lankan fans who have been waiting for a victory since 1996.”
Speaking further he said: “We have analysed all our matches. Hopefully, we would not have to analyse after this match and just enjoy. It is amazing. We still have a little bit left in our tanks. We will enjoy with the younger lot. We have played consistent cricket in the last 10 years. This is the icing on the cake.”
Mahela said the feeling hasn’t sunk in yet. “It wasn’t a normal match for me. A lot of emotions were running through me, as this was my last T20 International. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and it will take a couple of days to get the feeling.”