Sri Lanka captain says that the last eight overs of the West Indies innings shifted the momentum and that affected Sri Lanka's batting too
You didn’t need to hear Mahela Jayawardena admit that it hurt a lot to lose a fourth consecutive ICC final to work out exactly what he was going through.
Sri Lanka ended up second best in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in front of its fans at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday night, just as it had in the in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (Bridgetown), the ICC World Twenty20 2009 (Lord’s) and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 (Mumbai). Jayawardena put this 36-run defeat at the hands of the West Indies to momentum lost in the last ten overs of the West Indian innings, when 105 came as it recovered from 32 for 2 after ten to post a competitive 137 for 6.
“The last eight overs cost us 90 runs or so, that shifted the momentum,” said Jayawardena. “We didn’t have momentum going into our batting innings because of that. They lifted themselves from a tough situation, the confidence was with them. We tried our best, the guys bowled their heart out. We bowled reasonably well, but for 2-3 overs, I thought the entire bowling unit delivered for us. Batting obviously has been very consistent throughout this tournament and we back ourselves to chase down totals but we kept losing wickets. It was a bad day at the office for most of the boys.
“As a team we made a good effort but it wasn’t good enough. Twenty20 is such a format that things change in two or three overs. We couldn’t control a few things out there today. Marlon Samuels took the game away from us. We should have still have chased that score down but we lost wickets regularly. We wanted to attack, the first six overs were crucial for us to get a good start, using the hardness of the ball but when Dili (Tillakaratne Dilshan) got out to the first ball of the second over, that kept us back. Kumar (Sangakkara) and I had to make sure we consolidated. We could not afford to lose another wicket in the first six overs. We were looking at 45-50 in the first six if possible to put pressure on them but that didn’t materialise. They bowled really well, took the pace off the ball. They didn’t bowl their quicks, kept bowling their spinners. We had to take chances, which didn’t come off. We never had momentum going in that chase. We needed to make sure we got off to a good start and keep that going but we lost wickets regularly. So it was tough.”
Samuels exploded in a flurry of sixes to destroy Lasith Malinga. “That happens, you tend to plan for those kind of situations,” said Jayawardena. “We knew that they had four or five big guys who could change the game for them – (Chris) Gayle, (Sunil) Narine, Samuels, (Kieron) Pollard, could be anybody. We had to make sure that we control those situations which we did to a certain extent the quality of the opposition is such that somebody could have a good day and that’s what happened but you just can’t put it down to that. We have to take the blame as well. We did not bowl particularly well in those last 6-7 overs. We had a few fumbles in the field as well at crucial times. Credit to them, they played a good game of cricket in a big final and we did not.”
Reflecting on the four finals losses, he said, “Every defeat has been different. A couple of the finals, we didn’t start well and kept chasing the game, it was tough for us to get back into it. But I thought today, we started really well. Marlon took a gamble after the 12th over, it paid off for him. Those are individual performances that you have to give credit to. Under pressure, he put his hand up and performed at that crucial moment, which we just could not control. That crept into our batting as well, we didn’t have any momentum chasing down. We needed a couple of partnerships, which we did not get. It was a gutsy effort from them in a big game and credit to them. They played better cricket than us, they handled the situations better than us today.”
A fourth straight loss was very painful, Jayawardena admitted. “It hurts a lot because you want to do something special, not just personally but for the public as well. We have been playing some really good cricket but unfortunately we haven’t been able to cross that hurdle. As a player, as a cricketer and as an individual, it hurts a lot but you just have to move on and see how well we could get over this and get back on and keep fighting again,” said Jayawardena.