Asia Cup cricket showpiece organizers wanted heavyweights India and Pakistan to raise the final curtain but instead have an angry Sri Lankan pup sitting at the dinner table waiting for India at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today.
Sri Lankan supporters have already gone bonkers shopping for costumes but at the same time hunting for the lowest prices to book their seats after organisers jacked up prices to soar as much as Rs.40,000 with the cheapest being 6400, a rate that some men told their wives to forget the occasion.
But while the Pakistanis were packing their bags heading back to Lahore from where geopolitics took away the final show, the Sri Lankans were making preparations aware of the fact there is an invisible fine line between victory and defeat as they witnessed on Thursday.
But for the home team a somewhat princely-like passage into the final will be no occasion to let down the guard against India’s own brigade for one last fling.
Amid the boiling cauldron that is expected today, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka, once a country boy now knows many are yelling for his scalp more than rival team bowlers as he stands alongside a long list of batting failures.
Win today’s final and he could confidently stand before Judgement or lose and be cast as some kind of a renegade two weeks before next month’s World Cup in India.
“Decision making is more important than being a batsman in the middle. I will not say batting is not important, but at the same time I need to forget all the things that happened with the bat.
“Though I fail with the bat I make good decisions that have helped the team,” said Shanaka on the eve of the final.
Sri Lanka will be without slow bowler Maheesh Theekshana for today’s final due to a hamstring injury and his absence would be felt if Shanaka’s wish to bowl out of curtail India does not come to pass.
“Bowling against India we need to take wickets upfront and that is the key area. We have been underdogs and everyone (in the team) wanted to perform on the big stage and these youngsters need to show what they are capable of,” said Shanaka.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep, Mohamed Siraj
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Pramod Madushan, Sahan Arachchige