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The ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is around the corner and so, we thought of taking you on a nostalgic journey through the top 5 most memorable knocks by Sri Lankans in the previous tournaments.
Before we look at the list properly, here are a few notable mentions.
Chamara Kapugedera’s 16-ball 37 to knock India out of the 2010 T20 World Cup.
Sangakkara’s lone fight in the 2009 World T20 Final against Pakistan, where he scored an unbeaten 64 off 52 balls.
Jehan Mubarak’s quick-fire 46 off just 13 deliveries against Kenya during the inaugural T20 World Cup.
Moving to the top 5. The first on our list is one by Angelo Mathews.
Angelo Mathews 40 (23) v West Indies – 2014 T20 World Cup Semi-final
Semi-finals are sometimes the toughest games in any World Cup. Angelo Mathews walked out to bat at a critical moment during Sri Lanka’s semi-final against West Indies in the 2014 tournament.
The Lankans were tottering at 91 for 4 in the 14th over. He put up a 30-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanna in the next 21 deliveries. Until Thirimanne’s wicket fell, Mathews had scored only 9 off 10.
By the end of the 18th over, Mathews was on 13 off 14 and Sri Lanka were 128 for 5. He then stepped on the gas, carting Krishmar Santokie for 17 runs in the penultimate over and smacking 15 off the last over from Andre Russel to take Sri Lanka to a match-winning 160 in their 20 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara 52* (35) v India – 2014 T20 World Cup Final
Sri Lanka were in a little bit of trouble on 41 for 2 when Kumar Sangakkara came into bat, chasing India’s 130.
Sanga was quick to bring out his sweep against the spinners, smashing Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra to unsettle India’s key weapons.
He stepped out for anything given a bit of air, rushed to the backfoot for the flatter ones and anything beyond just short and outside off, he went down on one knee and carved them over the in-field with that iconic cover-drive.
He didn’t get a single over of pace on a damp Shere Bangla surface, yet made the chase look ever so easy to earn Sri Lanka it’s only T20 World Cup title.
Sanath Jayasuriya 88 (44) v Kenya – 2007 T20 World Cup
The master-blaster massacred the Kenyans with a dashing 88 runs off just 44 deliveries.
He helped Sri Lanka post a mammoth total of 260 runs, which still is the highest total in T20 World Cups.
Sanath smashed 4 sixes and 11 boundaries in that spectacular innings.
The stylish left-hander struck 61 runs off Lameck Onyango which was the most runs conceded by a bowler in T20 World Cups back then but was soon renewed by Jayasuriya himself as he leaked 64 runs to Pakistan in the same tournament.
Mahela Jayawardena 98* (56) v West Indies – 2010 T20 World Cup
In a group-stage game against the host nation, West Indies, at Bridgetown, Mahela Jayawardena amassed 98 runs in just 56 deliveries.
Mahela opened the batting for Sri Lanka and carried his bat through with ease. It was a crafty knock from the right-hander who had no hesitation whatsoever in taking risks. He kept dancing around the crease and sending the ball in directions.
Sri Lanka posted 195 runs in the game and won it by 57 runs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan 96* (57) v West Indies – 2009 T20 World Cup
Yes, it is the West Indies again and a semi-final too.
TM Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya posted a 73-run opening stand in the first 10 overs. Jayasuriya departed in the 11th over, Kumar Sangakkara went back a ball later and Mahela Jayawardena fell in the next over. All of a sudden, Sri Lanka were in trouble at 77 for 3 at the end of the 12th over. And Dilshan stood up to carry them through.
A usually daring batsman, Dilshan, only hit 2 sixes in this knock. He didn’t try his scoop shot or anything cheeky as he ended with 96 runs to his name.
The rest of the batsmen collectively scored only 56 runs while Dilshan more-or-less single-handedly took Sri Lanka to a World Cup final.