India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has dismissed suggestions his side will take a psychological edge into today’s World Twenty20 final with Sri Lanka in Mirpur.
Dhoni’s side are chasing a clean sweep of one-day titles, with the 50 over 2011 World Cup and last year’s Champions Trophy already to their name, while their opponents are out to end a desperate run in finals.
Sri Lanka have lost their last four finals in ICC competition, twice in the World Cup (2007 and 2011) and twice in the World T20 (2009 and 2012).
“In this format, I don’t think psychological advantage matters because the difference between the good sides is very narrow, as it’s such a short format,” said Dhoni, whose side reached the final with a six-wicket win over South Africa.
“I feel it all boils down to how well you play on that particular day and how the individuals respond to a particular situation.
“That will be crucial, it’s not about what we have done in the past. I don’t personally believe in stats, so it will be how we turn up on the field and if we can replicate what we have done in the tournament, then we have got a very good chance.”
Dhoni warned his side would have to remain calm again if they were to take the title against a strong Sri Lankan side.
“I personally feel you have to keep emotions at bay,” he said. “As human beings, we are all emotional, but when you are playing at professional level it is very important that you have control over your emotions."
Looking at his team’s chances while chasing, Dhoni said it was an area of the game the Indians have excelled in.
“In the last two-three years, we have emerged as a team that chases well. But if you look back, in the past 75 years, we had been a team that preferred setting target, irrespective of the conditions we played and which format we played. We got experience on both counts.
“But, at the same time, I don’t think there will much difference between chasing or setting a target unless there is dew or there is a vast difference in conditions.”
India have enjoyed an amazing run in the tournament, winning all four Super-10 league matches before beating South Africa by six wickets in Friday’s semi-final.
Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 72 off 44 balls as India chased down South Africa’s challenging 172-4, making the prolific right-hander the tournament’s leading scorer with 242 runs from five games.
India have also been served well by opener Rohit Sharma, whose 171 runs are far ahead of the 134 runs compiled by Sri Lanka’s top-scorer Jayawardene.
India also has the bowling edge with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s 10 wickets and leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s nine outshining Sri Lankan seamer Nuwan Kulasekara (seven) and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (five).
Players to watch:
The prolific right-hander is the tournament's highest scoring batsmen with 242 runs from five games. Virat is on top of his game and is the key cog in the Indian batting line-up. He knows the pressure of big finals and can be expected to fire once again. Kohli has an impressive tournament strike rate of 128.04. India will certainly be relying on their main batsman to continue his excellent form.
The stalwart will be keen to end his T20 career on a high and end Sri Lanka’s run of defeats in world-event finals. You must not forget Jayawardene's incredible record in T20Is. He is the second on the all-time run scorers list for this tournament with 1469 runs in 54 matches. The stage is set for Mahela to show his T20 batting might one last time and lead his side to glory.