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T20 World Cup Final: Sri Lanka or West Indies?

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ICC World T20 Championship 2012 would get over soon. And as fans, critics and connoisseurs of the game, we are going to have our takes on who should win the trophy and why. Pakistan fans would believe that they should have won this time around for their consistency at the ICC World T20 Championship. Australian fans may tell you that they should have won because for the first time in their World T20 history they looked like a team to beat. However, these two could not make it to the final. Hence, that leaves us with Sri Lanka and West Indies. Let's have a look at their numbers.

Pre-Match COW

Sri Lanka

51%
alt West Indies

49%

Head to Head

  Sri Lanka West Indies
Batting strength
6.3 / 10 6.2 / 10
Bowling strength
9.5 / 10 8.5 / 10
Boundary dependency
51% 57%
Matches won
4 / 4 0 / 4


Ameya feels Sri Lanka should win the ICC World T20 Championship 2012 and here is why?

As much as I enjoy watching West Indies take the field and bring in their joie de vivre to it along with admirable history, I feel Sri Lanka should win this time.

Sri Lankan cricket was in doldrums (financially) till the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) set in. As we can recollect, it was their cricketers’ longing for the game that they continued playing either unpaid or on woefully low salaries. SLPL not only brought in the money but certainly left Sri Lankan cricket in a financially healthy state. ICC World T20 Championship 2012 is being played immediately after the SLPL got over. This would help Sri Lankan cricket maintain the money flow SLPL brought in.

A win at the ICC T20 Championship would encourage youngsters to pick up the game at early stages of their lives. Secondly, in the presence of SLPL, it would provide the youngsters with an opportunity to play and get noticed for the national squad for the shorter formats. Every generation, needs a hero (male/female), a moment of glory or to put it simply, an entity to look up to. For the generation of Sangakkara and Mahela, the 1996 World Cup win and Arjuna Ranatunga holding that World Cup winner’s trophy was that moment. For the generation that has just started growing up and following cricket, the site of a Mahela Jayawardene led team winning the trophy will do the same. As said in one of the most notable pieces on Sri Lankan cricket, for the generation coming through, the peaceful Sri Lanka with less baggage of history and war, will lead a way to their cricket’s as well as Sri Lanka’s success as a nation. The trophy will surely kick-start that process.

The power struggles that ripped Sri Lanka apart are well documented. Kumar Sangakara, in his eye-opening speech at the annual Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture had eloquently highlighted how it affected the entire generation of his and his forefathers. However, no matter how volatile the situation was/is, the status of cricket as the most beloved game (since time immemorial) never flinched one bit. Ironically, cricket remained the sole entity where the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government remained on the same page and shared enthusiasm about. And now, as Sri Lanka is ready for a fresh start, the win would provide a significant impetus to the morale of the nation.

For Sri Lanka a win means new heroes, the new glory moment and a refreshing start to a war-free Sri Lanka to make it big.

For James its West Indies and this is how he argues...

“It’s Outta Here.” These words were spoken times aplenty, in languages aplenty when Chris Gayle blew away the Australian challenge. The same sentiment echoed across the cricketing world as West Indies paved their way into the final. Even the staunchest of Australian supporters couldn’t help but fall in love with the Caribbean brand of cricket. Even as the Aussies placed their hands on their heads, their hearts kept whispering, “What a shot!”

The men from West Indies have always been a lovable bunch. For many years now, audiences have secretly wished for them to return to their glory days; days when their batsmen struck the fear of being hit by a rum soaked, reggae listening man driving a car in bowlers. Those were also the days when only the West Indian pace men could be called ‘fast’ bowlers. They were brash, carefree and had the audacity of beating the ‘whites’ at their own game. Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Holding, Garner, Roberts and many more are names people associated with cricket in even the remotest way will remember for life. However, with their exit West Indies cricket was no more the feared behemoth that could take down any opposition. They struggled to find saviours.

Brian Charles Lara, Richie Richardson, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose carried the burden of expectations their predecessors had created. They performed well enough but not good enough for a nation that was used to celebrations. Yesterday in an interview, Otis Gibson mentioned that West Indies had forgotten how to celebrate. They had lost so many matches that winning was a distant dream. The entry of Chris Gayle and the form that he is in has rekindled the fire.

After every big shot, the entire dugout stood up and clapped. Every six was greeted with loud cheers nearing the sound barrier. A wicket taken was celebrated by breaking into a jig (#Gangnamstyle). In short, the West Indian team was having fun. This is something that has been missing from their game for over a decade now. This is who they are and it should reflect in their game. When a team plays according to its personality, more often than not it emerges victorious. If not the winner of the match, at least victorious in capturing the imagination of the audience.

It is exactly what West Indies have done. Along with winning matches, they have developed a fan base in almost every country watching the T20 World Championship. Apart from willing their own team to victory due to a sense of patriotism, even the Sri Lankans will be hoping Gayle and co. put up a great show for them. For the neutral viewers, a West Indian victory means big hitting and a bit of dancing. It also delivers hope that West Indian cricket is on the rise. International cricket desperately needs this Caribbean team to start performing the way it once used to. In a time when the survival of certain formats is in doubt, a little flair and flamboyance backed by performance can do no harm. It is definitely one way of putting bums on seats.

If West Indies go on to win today, an entire nation will get back its personality. The rum will pour, the music will blare and the dancing shoes will step on each other. They must not win because they need the trophy. Nor must they win because they want to be back among the top in the ICC rankings. Definitely not for the financial benefits. Perhaps a bit for the dwindling hope in its cricketers. But mostly because they brought the fun back into cricket…



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