Sri Lanka played an excellent final game and managed to defeat the favored India quite comfortably. After winning the 50-over World Cup in 1996, Sri Lanka had reached the final in world championships four times before (twice in the 50-over format in 2007 and 2011 and twice in the 20-over format in 2009 and 2012) and lost in all of them, twice to India. So although they have been consistently strong over the last decade, they needed to overcome the feeling that they had lost the ability to win the big game.
India batted first and they got another superb batting performance from Virat Kohli, their star batsman during this series and who was declared Man of the Tournament, who scored 77. Usually a batting performance like he had today leads to a winning score. But the Sri Lankan bowling and fielding were excellent and they managed to pretty much shut down the batting at the other end and restrict India to a modest score of 130. While Kohli scored 77 off 58 deliveries, all the other batsmen managed only 53 off 62 deliveries.
What really hurt India was that in the last four overs, a time when the rate of scoring usually accelerates and can often produce as much as 50 runs, the Sri Lankan bowling and fielding actually managed to slow them down and restrict them to just 19 runs. And this turned out to be crucial.
Sri Lanka set about methodically targeting the score and with good scores of 24 from their retiring veterans Mahela Jayawardene and 52 from Kumar Sangakkara, two people who have anchored the national team for over a decade, ended up reaching the target with ease. India bowled and fielded well but the score they were defending was just too low to enable them to put pressure on the Sri Lankan batsman.
Sangakkara in particular has not had a good tournament and must be pleased that he was able to play such a pivotal role in the final and win the Man of the Match award.
In the women’s tournament, Australia continued their dominance, beating England to win their third consecutive championship.