Tuesday, 16 October 2012


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Domination, consistency, endurance and luck

The 1983 World Cup

Sri Lankan team at the T20 World Cup 2012 finals

Shoaib Akhtar appealing at the 1999 World Cup

Sri Lanka lost yet another World Cup final, the fourth shocking disappointment for Sri Lankan cricket fans since 2007. Excited fans in the eve of final and other fans with various degrees of interest in cricket express their disappointment in various means. Statements such as “Mahela sold out the game,” “Malinga sold out the game,” “Its ok to lose but the way we lost is the thing which is not acceptable. We should have lost with more dignity” and etc.

On top of all these comments there are two main aspects which is a reason to get disappointed and reason to be happy.

Since 1996, Sri Lanka reached four World Cup finals and they were not capable of winning the finals after so much of hard work during the tournament. It is disappointing.

Since 2007, Sri Lanka reached four out of five World Cup finals (excluding ICC Champions Trophy) while their opponents were changing. They were Australia, Pakistan, India and West Indies. It shows that Sri Lanka had been consistent with their performance since 2007. Had they won all these World Cups it would have been said that Sri Lanka had been dominating cricket since 2007.

In cricket today, no country dominates the game. There had been several eras where a certain country dominated the game at least for couple of years. During 1975, 1979 West Indies were dominating and they lost their final in 1983 to India. During 1996 Sri Lanka was dominating and by 1999 their era ended and started the golden era of Australia from 1999 to 2007. During 2003 World Cup they were a team that cannot be beaten by any means. Since 2007 no team has been able to dominate the cricketing world except Sri Lanka had been able to reach four of five World Cup Finals (excluding ICC Champions Trophy) which is all about consistent performance than dominating.

Nobody sold out Sunday’s the game. This is the nature of the game. A captain would use his top gun to face the most difficult situation in a final. A captain would take chances to risk his top gun twice or thrice. In 1996 World Cup final, Shane Warne, the top gun of Australia who had taken 12 wickets in the tournament went for 58 runs in his ten overs without a wicket. In 1999 final, Shoaib Akhtar went for 37 runs in four overs who was Pakistan’s top gun apart from Wasim Akram at that time. In 2003, India’s top gun Javagal Shrinath went for 87 runs in his ten overs without a wicket when they lost to Australia. The list goes on and it is evident that top guns of the losing sides of finals have been paying the price of being trusted by their captains. Therefore it is unfair for one to designate that Malinga or Mahela sold out the match.

It is hard to find a team who lost their world cup final with a narrow margin with so called dignity no matter how well they have performed in their path to the final. The best example is 1983 World Cup. Even by that time West Indies were dominating cricketing world as they had many top guns. In that World Cup when reaching finals out of seven games they faced, India had lost two and West Indies had lost only one game. These were 60 over matches and India scored only 183 runs. West Indies were aiming their third consecutive World Cup win but they were all out for 140 runs and India won by 43 runs which was not a narrow margin and it was not a lost with so called dignity for West Indies.

In 2003, World Cup India lost by 125 runs to Australia and in 1999, Pakistan lost to Australia by eight wickets with 179 balls remaining. In 2010 T20 final Australia lost to England by seven wickets with 18 balls remaining which are not narrow margins and defeats with so called dignity. This analysis does not contain statistics of ICC Champions Trophy (KnockOut) but those statistics will not make much of a difference to prove that there had been few World Cup finals with tight finishes which would have given the losing side so called lost with dignity.

To get through to a final a team needs true talent, dedication, determination, strength and performance. But to win a final a team requires enormous amount of endurance with little bit of luck and destiny. To get through to four finals in five years a team needs consistent talent, dedication, determination, strength and performance. The question here is what is lacking with Sri Lanka to lose all four finals; endurance or little bit of luck and destiny.

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