A packed house of 35,000 at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, won't be enough to will the home team past a cocky West Indies club in the finals of the T20 World Cup on Sunday afternoon.
The two teams have gone head-to-head recently, with Sri Lanka emerging victorious both times: first in a practice game before the tournament got underway and again in the Super Eights, winning both matches by nine wickets.
But this is a different West Indies team than Sri Lanka has seen before.
Chris Gayle, the West Indies' phenomenal opener, crushed a ridiculous 41-of-75 balls against Australia, leading his club to an impressive 74-run victory in the semifinal round.
Aussie captain George Bailey offered some words of advice to the host team (h/t The Times of India):
If Sri Lanka can get Gayle out for under 20, they will win. But if they don't, the West Indies will prove too strong.
With the West Indies attack, you can chase down 160. I am sitting on the fence a bit. But the two best teams got into the final.
Gayle is über-confident, almost cocky, in how Sunday's final will play out (h/t The Times of India):
We're definitely going to rock against Sri Lanka. We know what to expect -- the atmosphere, the noise and everything else.
We are definitely going to win this trophy here. I just feel confident about it. We are up against world class players in the Sri Lanka team, but it's going to be good fun.
Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, is no slouch when it comes to producing runs in the tournament. He heads into the finals ranked fourth with 210, nine behind Gayle.
It was Jayawardene who led Sri Lanka into each of their last three finals appearances—the World Cup in 2007 and 2011 and the World Twenty in 2009—each time failing to lead his team to victory.
That track record, coupled with Gayle's dominance and his partnerships with Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels, will simply be too much for the home team to overcome in what promises to be an entertaining end to a well-played tournament.
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