Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene plays down Gayle factor in final

Captain Jayawardene says his side have no special plan to deal with the flamboyant West Indies batsman as they go for glory in final

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 4:07am


Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene insists the World Twenty20 final against the West Indies today will not hinge on just Chris Gayle's flamboyant batting.

The left-hander lifted the West Indies past Australia in Friday's semi-final with an unbeaten 75 off 41 balls, making him the danger man for Sri Lanka's title hopes.

But Jayawardene aiming to break his team's losing sequence in three finals in major events, played down Gayle's importance, saying his team never planned for just one individual.

"We have never gone after individuals," Jayawardene said. "Gayle is just another player in a very good West Indies side. But we plan and analyse for a team, not individuals.

"The West Indies obviously had a ball with the bat against Australia. But its a new game on Sunday and everything will depend on how we execute our plans. It's a great challenge to have as a team."

The Sri Lankan captain scoffed at Gayle's remarks that the West Indies were going to ruin Sri Lanka's party by winning the title.

"I can't make out if the pressure is on us or him," Jayawardene said. "If he has said something like that, the pressure must be more on him. Let him deal with it."

Sri Lanka, looking for their first major title since the 1996 triumph in the 50-over World Cup, lost two successive finals of the same tournament in 2007 and 2011 and were also beaten in the World Twenty20 in 2009.

"The preparations have been pretty good this time," said Jayawardene. "We are not thinking about what happened in the past. We were probably not good enough then. But we have the capacity to win and we will focus on that."

West Indies captain Darren Sammy insisted his team had peaked at the right time.

"We are determined to spoil the Sri Lankan party," Sammy said. "The two best teams are in the final and if Sri Lanka are strong, we too have peaked in time."

Sammy also said there was more to his team than just Gayle. "We have Gayle to give us a good start," the West Indies captain said. "If he gets going it is great, but we have enough resources in the bank if he does not give the start we need.

"Everyone will be looking to perform their best because this is going to be a memorable occasion and a victory will mean a lot for fans back home," he said.

Sammy said the spin-friendly conditions at the Premadasa stadium that are expected to favour the hosts, did not worry him.

"If we play our best, conditions will not count," he said. "Our job is to put up a big total whether we bat first or not.