After three weeks of swashbuckling excitement and dominant spin bowling, India and Sri Lanka will face a stern test of nerves, and each other, in the all Asian T20 World Cup final in Dhaka on Sunday.
Both sides have plenty of incentive to lift the trophy tomorrow however for Sri Lanka it will be an opportunity to wipe away some bad memories in World Cup finals having ended up on the losing side on no less than four occasions.
Victory tomorrow for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team will not only secure them a second T20 World Cup crown after their 5 run win over Pakistan in the inaugural event in 2007, it will also see them hold the, 'Holy Grail,'of limited overs titles after their wins in the 2011, 50-over World Cup and the Champions Trophy last year.
Sri Lanka have been one of the leading teams in limited overs cricket in recent times highlighted by their recent Asia Cup victory however they will be wary of their poor record in finals after losing the last two 50-over World Cup finals to Australia in 2007 and India in 2011 and a further two T20 World Cup final losses to Pakistan in 2009 and the West Indies in 2012.
The Sri Lankan Cricket Board are so desperate for their team to break the losing trend that they have offered a $1 million win bonus if they can triumph on Sunday.
A further incentive for the Lankan Lions will be to provide two of their cricketing legends, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara the perfect send-off following their joint announcement that they will be retiring from the T20 format at the end of the tournament.
India have been in dominant form throughout the tournament brushing aside Pakistan and the West Indies by seven wickets, Bangladesh by eight wickets and Australia by a comprehensive 73 runs during the Super 10's and their win over South Africa in the semi-finals by 6 wickets underlined their tag as favourites to go all the way.
Sri Lanka have suffered just the one loss to New Zealand and their semi-final win over the defending champions the West Indies might have come to a premature end due to rain however there is no doubting they would have advanced regardless.
Sri Lanka have the class and experience to upset India, it just depends if they can get it together on the night. Thisara Perera and Tillakaratne Dishan are more than capable of exploiting the power-play at the top of the order with Jayawardene and Sangakkara keeping the board ticking during the middle overs. Angelo Mathews and Thirimanne will provide the late surge if required.
With the ball Lasith Malinga who is without question the best fast bowler in T20 will need to be at his accurate best while the spin of Prasanna and Rangana Herath will surely take center stage.
Seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has been superb for the Lions with seven wickets however it is ability to keep the runs at a minimum which again will be crucial during the initial onslaught.
For India, Rohit Sharma has been quite brilliant at the top of the order. Sharma is a serious talent and his 171 runs at a strike rate of 125 has provided the perfect platform for the unbelievable Virat Kohli to play his natural attacking game.
India have lost close to 50000 international runs over the last few years with the retirement of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar creating the opportunity for one of the Indian batsman to stand up and Kohli has been that player.
The Delhi born right-hander (alongside AB de Villiers) has been in a league of his own in all formats of the game over the last 2 years and has been the real star of the tournament so far with 242 runs at a strike rate of just under 130. He could very well be the difference tomorrow however if he fails the quality keeps coming in the form of Rahane, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.
If Kohli has provided the spark with the bat then much credit must go to the spin department of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra. At some stage of the tournament they have all delivered match winning performances and as so often seen during the tournament, taking the pace of the ball has restricted the flow of runs and applied scoreboard pressure that ultimately leads to wickets.
Whatever has gone on before means nothing come tomorrow. It is a one off and as so often seen in this format all it takes is one explosive performance to tilt the balance.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms