Panorama of the R. Premadasa Stadium.
Last night’s match was electric. You could feel it in the day even, leading up to the 7 PM match, as there was less traffic than usual and everyone had something to talk about. It was the semi-finals of the World T20 Cup, Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan. We actually went to the match (5 overs late) and it was amazing. Here are some photos.
My main feeling at sports events I’m involved in is nervousness culminating in either relief or deep disappointment. This match was tense the whole way. The opening batting from Mahela Jayaradena and TM Dilshan was aggressive and exciting, a lot of scoops and swoops going just over the heads of the inside fielders. But those were risky shots and they had to place them just right. In the end they made mistakes and Mahela got out. Sri Lanka’s score of 139 in the first bat seemed hard to get and full of fours, but when it came time to defend that number against Pakistan, it really wasn’t that much. So it ended up being much more of a bowling and fielding game.
There honestly wasn’t time to take many photos.
It’s the wonder of the game that it isn’t all about fours and sixes, or even wickets. The overwhelmingly Sri Lankan crowd was cheering for each dot ball (0 runs) or single. Each time the fielders hustled to keep the batters at their crease, people appreciated and cheered. Of course, any time the ball got anywhere near Lasith Malinga, people groaned. He’s still a great bowler, but he managed to bobble or miss any ball that was hit near him. The bowler of the match, however, was Rangana Herath, who got three wickets. Most notably, he and Sanga stumped Hafeez and then immediately bowled out Afridi for a duck, AKA, walk on, walk off.
It was still mad tense as Sri Lanka needed every dot and single, but they got it, with just enough room.
Now Sri Lanka is in the Finals, however, we are almost always in the Finals and something awful usually happens. In the penultimate World Cup, there were no lights in the West Indies and the LTTE chose that night to bomb Colombo (in their amateur way). So there were no lights here either. And we lost. Sigh. Then there was the next World Cup, I’m referring ODIs here, the 50 over matches, where Sri Lanka changed half the squad the night before and then lost, seemingly through bad selection. I still think that there was political interference and we essentially threw the match, either through dodginess or incompetence. I was very unhappy.
So Sri Lanka is kinda jinxed in finals. But we better not be this time. I’ll be at the match and there’s nothing worse than a losing trudge home. That said, when Sri Lanka wins everyone is happy. So we got that last night. Here’s hoping for more. We’ve been awesome for years but haven’t had a cup to prove it.