No room for emotions in battle for T20 crown

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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:

Virat Kohli-

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.

Mahela Jayawardene- 

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.

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Sub-plots aplenty as Sri Lanka & India contest World T20 final

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Who will triumph? Dhoni (l) and Malinga (r) pose with the World Twenty20 trophy.

Sri Lanka face a daunting test of nerves from dominant India in Sunday's all-Asian World Twenty20 final in Dhaka that is rich with incentives for both teams.

If Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India win, they will become the first team to hold all three major limited-overs titles, having won the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year.

Sri Lanka will seek an end to an inexplicable losing streak in title matches, after being beaten twice in World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 and the World Twenty20 finals in 2009 and 2012.

A fitting farewell to veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in their last T20 international game and a million-dollar winning bonus offered by officials back home will further inspire the Sri Lankans.

Sri Lanka's English coach Paul Farbrace said past results counted for little in T20 games and pointed to his team's victory in the Asia Cup one-day tournament in Dhaka last month as a turning point.

"We've done really well in most competitions and got to finals," he said. "That's where teams want to be. We had a big win here in the Asia Cup a few weeks ago where we beat India pretty convincingly, and also beat Pakistan twice.

"T20 is about whoever turns up on that particular day. Form goes out of the window. It's about making sure we're ready and focused. What happened two years ago won't even be talked about."

Sri Lanka reached Sunday's final with a 27-run win over defending champions West Indies through the Duckworth-Lewis calculations in a rain-hit semi-final on Thursday.

The West Indies, chasing Sri Lanka's 160-6, were 80-4 in 13.5 overs when a heavy downpour forced the match to be abandoned at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka.

It was undecided if Sri Lanka's T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal will again opt out of the final, as he did on Thursday, to allow the winning combination to stay with pace bowler Lasith Malinga at the helm.

India have enjoyed an amazing run in the tournament, winning all four Super-10 league matches before beating South Africa by six wickets with five deliveries to spare 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).

"There is a good feeling around the team, but we have to make a fresh start in the final," said Kohli. "Sri Lanka is never a team to take lightly."

Meanwhile, defending champions Australia will take on England in the women's final at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium a few hours before the men take the field on Sunday.

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Sport360° view: Virat Kohli holds the key in World T20 final

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"There is more method than madness in Kohli’s approach."

The three formats of international cricket – the five-day Tests, the 50-over ODIs and the Twenty20 – demand such different skill sets and mental aptitude, you rarely come across players who have mastered them all.

The experts often point out that one has got to have the right basics to be able to slog right in the T20s. But starting from the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, to Australian captain Michael Clarke, to South African superstar Hashim Amla, there have been umpteen examples of Test and ODI stars unable to shine in the shortest format.

But Virat Kohli is one batsman who has transcended these boundaries with great aplomb, and on Friday was another magnificent example of why in a talented bunch of Indians, he stands out.

A GPS could not have guided home the Indians better than Kohli as they chased down what was a daunting target of 173 set by the South Africans.

After a decent start provided by the openers, the No3 made the most of the early advantage and went about scoring an extremely well-paced unbeaten 72.

There is more method than madness in Kohli’s approach. Two things characterise his batting in T20 the most – first, his penchant for hitting most of his strokes in the ‘V’, and secondly his ability to push most balls for singles.

On Friday, of the 44 balls he faced, there were only three in which the bowlers managed to prevent him from taking runs.

It was the first time in the tournament that the Indian batting was tested. But even in those easy previous wins, Kohli was the standout performer with the willow.

He is now the highest scorer in the tournament – with 242 runs at an average of 121 and strike rate of 128.04 – and his wicket in the final against Sri Lanka could well be the difference between the Islanders winning their first World T20 title, or finishing runners-up for the third time.

What India’s win did last night, was set up the final that most fans expected, and the organisers would have dreamt of from the beginning.

The two teams are No1 and No2 in the T20 rankings, but more importantly, they were the two most consistent teams in the tournament.

Sri Lanka did suffer one hiccup – a loss to England in the group stage – but that was more because of a magical innings by Alex Hales.

It won’t be a surprise if Kohli gives them a sense of deja vu in the final.

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