Sunday, September 6, 2009

India have chance to break finals jinx

India have the opportunity to clinch their first final in almost 11 years in Sri Lanka during the tri-series.
Having led India to many great victories since donning the captain's mantle, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has another chance to ink his name in the record books when the team begins the new season with the tri-series in Sri Lanka.
India have the opportunity to clinch their first final in a multi-nation event in almost 11 years in the island nation when they take on the hosts and New Zealand in the ODI event at the R Premadas stadium in Colombo from September 9-14.
India emerged joint winners in two tournaments
India had last won the final of a major one-day event on Lankan soil in 1998 and then shared the rain-marred ICC Champions Trophy with the hosts in 2002.
The team rode on twin centuries from openers Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, now retired, to defeat the home side, led by another ex-player Arjuna Ranatunga and clinch the Singer-Akai Nidahas Trophy eleven years ago.
Incidentally that tri-series also featured New Zealand.
Since then India have participated in five multi-national tournaments (excluding the abandoned Unitech Cup in 2006) but have failed to break the summit clash jinx.
They have finished on the losing side to the hosts on all other occassions.
Since winning the triangular event in 1998, India have taken part in 12 multinational ODI tournaments, barring the abandoned Unitech Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006, in the Indian sub-continent. But their record in these finals has hardly been impressive.
The team emerged joint winners in two tournaments - ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 and the 2003 TVS Cup in Bangladesh - by sharing the top prize with Lanka and South Africa respectively.
India finished second-best on 7 occasions
On seven occasions, India have finished second-best, while crashing out of the tournament thrice in the league stage itself.
However, Dhoni's team has gradually gained a reputation of not being bogged down by history and past baggage, as is expected from a team that hit a purple patch with five consecutive bilateral ODI series truimphs.
What will boost the squad's morale further is that three of these five recent series triumphs have come against the two opponents it will face in the tri series.
India have not only defeated Sri Lanka in their own backyard twice in the past two years, but also humiliated the Kiwis in New Zealand earlier this year.
A win in the tri-series will not only add another feather to Dhoni's cap, but may also act as a balm for the cricket-mad fans who have not forgiven the team for its below-par display in the T20 World Cup in England in June.
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