When it comes to cricket in general, the most consistent side over the last few years is South Africa although, they've failed when it comes to international tournaments. However, coming to the other aspect, that is, consistency in international tournaments, be it the 50 over world cup or the 20 over world cup, it has undoubtedly been Sri Lanka, be it home or away, who since 2007, have got themselves featured in three semi-finals in the last four T20 World cups missing out only on the inaugural tournament and finished second in both the world cups in the longer format of the game. To challenge their status as the most consistent side in tournaments, there is Australia, but they've been adequately rewarded for their consistency, unlike Sri Lanka, who haven't had the privilege to be the sole winner of a tournament since 1996 (I had to use the word 'sole' because the 2002 ICC Champions trophy was shared between the sub-continent giants India and Sri Lanka).
The adorable fact about the Sri Lankan side is that since 2007, so many changes have taken place, captains changed four times, retirement of the veterans – Jayasuriya, Vaas and Muralitharan, different coaches but something that hasn't changed over all these years is their commitment and dedication, when it comes to playing a major tournament.
Sri Lanka have already had the experience of playing in a World T20 final but unfortunately, they succumbed to the all-round brilliance of Shahid Afridi on that day but now, the situation is different. Sri Lanka would be playing in front of their own crowd, with thousands of fans roaring their applause for every run scored by their team .
So, has the time come for consistency to get its reward? Only time will tell the answer to that question but if I've to predict, I'd strongly say yes. The statistics, current form and also the location, favours the Lankan lions. As far as statistics are concerned, West Indies have stood in Sri Lanka's way on four occasions in T20 world cups and haven't succeeded in being a hindrance in any of these occasions. Even when it comes to current form, the Caribbeans have been good, but not to the level of their opponents, whose only loss in the tournament was in a highly rain affected match against South Africa but that, certainly doesn't imply that it is going to be a cakewalk for Sri Lanka. The return of the mercenaries has drastically boosted West Indies' strength and if they pick up from where they left off against Australia, no team would have a chance against them. However, looking on a one on one basis, the Big Three comprising Dilshan, Jayawardene and Sangakkara well supported by Mathews and Perera along with their good bowling attack led by the mysterious Malinga would prove too much for the Caribbeans. The key lies for them in dismissing Gayle early, irrespective of whether they're going to defend a target or chase a target.
It'd be really great, if their several years of consistency is going to be rewarded today, in front of their own fans, at the Premadasa Stadium.
Have a nice day,