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World T20 Final: Will it turn out to be the battle of spinners?


Subhasish Dutta,Cricketnext
Apr 06, 2014 at 12:39pm IST

History repeats itself. After three years and four days since the 2011 ICC World Cup final, the two Asian neighbours - India and Sri Lanka - are again standing at the cusp of history; this time, though, to decide who wears the crown in the other limited-overs format as they lock horns in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 final on Sunday.

The stage is prefect and nobody could have asked for more as two of the most successful teams of the tournament will battle for the crown at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

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Both the teams had a good run in the tournament. While India enjoyed a joyride en route the final by staying unbeaten and winning five on the trot, Sri Lanka also had a fairly inspiring campaign, with just one loss against England in the group stages. But the common ground between the two has been the enthralling performance of their spinners throughout the tournament.

World T20 Final: Will it turn out to be the battle of spinners?

The common factor for India and Sri Lanka's success in this edition has been the performance of their spinners, and the script may repeat on Sunday.

The spinners have played a pivotal role for India and Sri Lanka, a fact that laid bare by Rangana Herath, who wrecked havoc to dismantle New Zealand, and R Ashwin, who is third on the wicket-takers' list with 10 scalps. It's a testimony to the dominance of spinners in the shortest format and the dependency of the teams on them, especially in the subcontinent conditions.

The final, thus, may well turn out to be the battle of spinners as both the squads have them in abundance. Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis. And it won't be a surprise if you see all six of them playing the game. You might see the pacers playing a secondary role in the final, though Lasith Malinga and the others of his breed may not agree. Not to forget part-timers like Suresh Raina and Tillakaratne Dilshan who can always strike a crucial blow.

For India, the spinners have scalped 24 wickets in five matches, including the semi-final against South Africa, which was dominated with the ball by Ashwin, who took 3 for 22.

Meanwhile for Sri Lanka, spinners accounted for 13 wickets. Though far less than India, the quality of Herath & Co can't be undermined. Sri Lanka reached the semi-finals after crushing New Zealand by 59 runs in Chittagong but the win was orchestrated by spinner Herath bamboozling the Kiwis, claiming his career-best 5 for 3 in 3.3 overs.

The Mirpur surface, which has been known for its kindness to spinners, has offered enough spin and bounce to keep the tweakers interested, and the script may not be much different on Sunday.

Will it be a repeat of 2011 World Cup final or will Sri Lanka finally keep their nerves to claim their first World T20 title after making it to the final for the third time? We will know that before Monday arrives.

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