THE WINNER TAKES ALL: All the Sri Lanka cricketers board the SUV that captain Kumar Sangakkara was presented with for becoming the player-of-the-series after winning the Idea Cup final against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur last light.Photo: AFP
For once in the Idea Cup, and most importantly after the final, neither the winning captain Kumar Sangakkara nor the losing one Mahendra Singh Dhoni pointed finger at the 'dew factor'. Rather the match was decided on the field and the team that played better on the day won the match, agreed both the skippers in the post match briefing last night.
Sangakkara's men pulled off a four-wicket victory in the final of the Idea Cup after luck had smiled on the Lankan skipper for the fifth time in the tournament. And his men chased down the 245-run target with four wickets standing and nine balls yet to be bowled. But it was not a one-sided match like the previous ones as the Indians ran Sri Lanka right to the end, and Sangakkara was pleased that they pulled it off in the end.
"We should've finished the game earlier. We probably conceded thirty more runs. We let it slip slightly in the middle overs. But thankfully we pulled it off."
Sangakkara heaped praises on the match-winning performance of his young bowler Nuwan Kulasekara who took four crucial wickets for 48 runs. "He is an exceptional player. He gives his everything whether he is bowling, batting or fielding. And that is why he is the number one bowler in one-day cricket."
The Lankan skipper who himself received the man-of-the-tournament award for his consistent batting performances with four half-centuries credited the team effort as the reason behind this success. "It's good to have match-winners like Dilshan, Tharanga, Mahela in the side. Mahela once again proved how good a player he is."
Sangakkara specially thanked his young brigade who have grabbed their opportunity with both hands with so many of the senior players either missing through injuries or dropped for poor form.
The losing captain, Dhoni pointed out the injury of Ashish Nehra one big reason for their defeat, saying that dew wasn't there in the game. Nehra bowled just 1.2 overs and took the wicket of Upul Tharanga, but soon he had to walk off with the injury.
"Missing Ashish was a big factor. If he could play we could have made it more difficult for them. Things could have been different on a seaming track where there was no dew today," rued Dhoni.
Obviously Dhoni was not a happy man with the fact that India lost the final, but he expressed his satisfaction over his players' overall performance.
"I am happy to see our bowlers coming good. The seamers bowled very well, so did Harbhajan and the rest. They are not probably in the best of form right now, but they are coming back to form, which is very important."
Where did his team go wrong in the final? "We lost too many quick wickets towards the end. We should have got 20-30 more runs. Shot selection was not great at times. With a few more runs on a track that offered reverse swing and didn't come all that easy for playing shots, we might have pulled it off," concluded the India skipper.