… but how you finish definitely does. The game of limited overs cricket has gone through one complete rotation, one could say, since when West Indies lost to India in the 1983 World Cup. Yesterday, West Indies won the T20 World Cup. A format that is about as new as the one day format was back then, one key difference being that unlike the one-dayers back then when West Indies would be the overwhelming favourites, in T20 any team can win on a given day (or night).
And so it happened that the final game began yesterday, where though Sri Lanka started off as the favourites, there was always the possibility of West Indies winning. Or so it seemed until the game actually started.
Just like the West Indies of 1983 was by the time the Indian innings was completed (a score of 183 in 60 overs was hardly threatening), Sri Lanka was yesterday the overwhelming favourite to win by the time West Indies finished their innings at 137 off 20 overs. And even that total was achieved only off the back of a stupendous fightback by Marlon Samuels, after the team had reached a paltry 32 for 2 off 10 overs.
And why did Sri Lanka lose? Commentators, the Lanka captain Jayawardene and most others attribute it to pressure. Yes, there was pressure; however, the one aspect that no one appears to have honed in on was the lack of application at the top, and a cavalier, lackadaisical attitude while chasing what was, at best, a mildly competitive total on that pitch.
When you note that West Indies had scored ten runs less against the same team just about a week ago, and lost by nine wickets with about five overs to spare, you realize where that sense of overconfidence came from! Sri Lanka undoubtedly thought that this game would be a similar stroll in the park, given that the target was only about ten runs more.