Mirpur: It was a fitting farewell for Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara who pulled the curtains on their T20 careers with a memorable triumph at the ICC World Twenty20, and their team-mates dedicated it to the two retiring legends of Sri Lankan cricket.
A gutsy Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to win their maiden ICC World T20 trophy with a convincing six-wicket victory over India in the summit clash at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Sri Lanka's ODI captain Angelo Mathews led the tribute, saying the entire team was focused to lift the trophy for the retiring duo. "Sri Lanka, this is for you. It was a great game. The win is a tribute to Mahela and Sanga. I am glad the whole team did it for Sanga and Mahela," Mathews said after the win.
The Sri Lankan team carries veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara on their shoulders after winning the World T20 title. (AFP)
Another senior member of the Sri Lankan side, Tillakaratne Dilshan echoed similar feelings. "Today one of the three guys put their head up to do something for the team. It was a fantastic win for Sri Lanka. Good farewell for the two happy guys [Jayawardene and Sangakkara]," he said. "I think Sangakkara struggled a bit in the tournament but today he used all his experience and showed his character."
Sri Lanka thus became third time lucky in a ICC World T20 summit clash.
"It is a special night. It's an amazing feeling after losing the last World Cup. Last five World Cups we lost, but today is a great feeling to come back and win it," Dilshan said.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath added: "It's an amazing feeling. This is the best send-off for Sanga and Mahela. After 18 years, this is a different high."
Jayawardene, on his part, dedicated the victory to the cricket crazy fans of Sri Lanka and thanked all and sundry for standing by his side during his memorable career.
"We finally managed to break the jinx. Thanks so much to family and friends but this one is for Sri Lankan fans who have been waiting since 1996," he said.
"It wasn't a normal match. Lot of emotions as this was the last T20 [match for me]. The feeling hasn't sunk in yet and it will take a couple of days to get the feeling," an emotional Jayawardene said.
In their last T20 innings, Jayawardene made a sweet little 24 which set the tempo while Sangakkara anchored it to perfection with an unbeaten 52.
As Thisara Perera hit the winning runs off Ravichandran Ashwin in 17.5 overs, the entire Sri Lankan team charged down the pitch and grabbed Sangakkara. Captain Lasith Malinga was not to be left far behind as he just rushed in and jumped over the lot.
There were hugs all around as each and every member of the side hugged Jayawardene and Sangakkara, who were later carried on their shoulders by their team-mates for a lap of honour.
India's Virat Kohli, who made a belligerent 77 in a losing cause, displayed tremendous sportsman spirit as he was seen hugging Sangakkara and exchanging a few pleasantries with the cricketer.