Sri Lanka would look to rein in a marauding Chris Gayle, whose performance may be a determining factor when the dominating hosts clash with an upbeat West Indies in the final of the World Twenty20 here tomorrow.

Sri Lanka are aiming to win their second world title after a gap of 16 years as their first and only World trophy came in 1996 while the Caribbean side are playing a World event final after nearly 30 years, having last played against India at the Lord’s in 1983.

Sri Lanka should be favourites not only because of home conditions but also due to the variety of players from Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara to Thisara Perera who can change their game according to the needs.

The West Indies on the other hand have some very competent T20 players in Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard but all of them love to rally around Gayle who is the pivotal force in this Caribbean set-up.

Darren Sammy and his bunch of brave-hearts know that Gayle’s performance will be key in the outcome of the match.

The situation was summed up aptly by Australia captain George Bailey after suffering a crushing 74-run defeat against the Caribbean side on Friday.

“If Sri Lanka can get Gayle out under 20 runs, they are the favourites to win the title but if they can’t then West Indies are too strong,” Bailey opined when he was asked about the favourite team to win the Cup.

For the West Indies, a lot of things will be at stake in the match. It’s not that there will be a sea change in the declining cricket culture in the Caribbean islands but a victory on global stage might provide encouragement for the youth, who are more obsessed with basketball and dream of making the cut in the NBA league.

(This article was published on October 6, 2012)
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