By Allaam Ousman, from Colombo
West Indies foiled Sri Lanka's dream of becoming the first host nation to be crowned World Twenty20 champions when they bowled out the hosts for 101 and win by 36 runs in Colombo on Sunday.
The jam-packed R. Premadasa Stadium were stunned into disbelief by an abject batting display by Sri Lanka chasing a modest target of 138.
When Lasith Malinga was last man out in the 19th over, it was a premature climax to what promised to be an closely contested finale.
West Indies playing in a World Cup final after 30 years, having last played against India at Lord's in 1983, finally relived their glory days after a brilliant all-round effort on the field.
Sri Lanka appearing in their fourth major final since Arjuna Ranatunga's maiden World Cup final triumph in 1996, stumbled at the finish line yet again.
Not surprisingly the majority of the disappointed Sri Lankans disappeared even before the final ceremonies began having to cut short their plans to party all night.
Marlon Samuels was adjudged man of the match for his top score of 78 and one for 15.
Australia's Shane Watson was declared the Player of the tournament.
Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at 48 for two at the halfway stage after Kumar Sangakkara had fashioned a steady recovery in tandem with skipper Mahela Jayawardena after the early dismissal of dashing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck in the second over.
But it turned out to be a mirage with not even the pessimistic Sri Lankan fan foreseeing what happened next.
Sri Lanka's batting imploded in a heap with Sangakkara's dismissal triggering a massive collapse which saw them lose six wickets for 21 runs within a span of six overs as they went from 48-1 to 69-7 by the 15th over.
The final was as good as over as a contest by then despite some lusty hitting from Nuwan Kulasekera.
Chasing a target of 138, Sri Lanka had reach 51 for two after 10 overs recovering steadily after the early loss of dashing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Sangakkara holed out in the deep to Kieron Pollard off leggie Samuel Badree having 42 runs off 8.2 overs with Mahela Jayawardena. He hit two boundaries during his knock.
Sri Lanka were cruising along at 30 for one after the six powerplay overs despite the early dismissal of Dilshan as veterans Jayawardena and Sangakkara blunted the spin attack desployed by West Indies.
But the hosts suffered a dramatic collapse losing six wickets for 21 runs within a span of six over.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy struck in the next over when he bowled Sri Lanka's vice-captain Angelo Mathews who attemped to scoop him over mid wicket.
Then the hosts suffered a double blow in the 13th over bowled by spinner Narine who got the prized wicket of Sri Lanka skipper Jayawardena.
Having been let off on 5 and 29, Jayawardena perished attempting a reverse sweep only succeeding in skying it to Sammy after makig 33 off 36 balls.
Some brilliant fielding reduced Sri Lanka's innings to tatters as first Jeewan Mendis and then Thisara Perera were run out.
The death knell sounded when Sri Lanka's last recognised batsman Lahiru Thirimanne holed to Charless in the deep off Sammy.
Nuwan Kulasekera revived Sri Lanka's faint hopes with an exciting cameo of 26 in just 13 balls hitting a six and three boundaries in consecutive deliveries off Rampaul.
But he fell in the 18th over being slashing Narine for Badree to take a good running catch for Sri Lanka to slip further into the abyss at 96 for eight.
Jayawardena, dropped in the deep on five by Dwayne Bravo off Marlon Samuels, hit two boundaries so far in hin 19 while Sangakarra one as the pair found the gaps and ran with good understanding between the wickets to pick up singles.
Sri Lanka lost Dilshan for a duck in the second over when they began their run chase of 138.
Ravi Rampaul silenced the partisan crowd filled to capacity at R Premadasa Stadium by sending Dilshan's off stump cartwheeling as Sri Lanka lost their first wicket with just six on the board.
Mahela Jayawardena hit an exquisite late cut past third man for the first boundary of Sri Lanka's innings in the first over bowled by spinner Samuel Badree.
Earlier, West Indies recovered to make 137 for six after electing to bat first.
Marlon Samuels anchored the West Indies innings top scoring with 78 which was spiced with six sixes and three boundaries.
Ajantha Mendis was the most successful bowler claiming four for 12, including the prized scalp of Chris Gayle for three.
West Indies crumbled in a heap to the spin of Mendis collapsing to 87 for five by the 16th over.
Just when Marlon Samuels threatened to take the game away from Sri Lanka, Mendis captured three wickets in four deliveries in split over though Darren Sammy denied him a hat-trick.
Mendis broke a 50-run stand for the third wicket between Samuels and Bravo, whom he trapped leg before with the final delivery of his third over.
Bravo was dismissed for 19 after hitting the first six of the match.
Samuels completed his half century with a six and four off Jeewan Mendis in the next over.
But the unorthodox Mendis returned to strike a double blow when he removed Kieron Pollard for two with Dananjaya taking a juggling catch at cover point.
Andre Russell was all at sea against Mendis attempting to sweep him only to be trapped leg before for a duck.
Mendis returned an excellent analysis of 4-0-12-4 with just one wide while ace pacer Malinga went for 54 in his four overs.
A late flurry by skipper Sammy who hit three boundaries in 26 boosted West Indies total.
Mathews returned superb figures of 4-1-11-1 while Dananjaya had one for 13 in three overs.
Samuels seemed to take a liking to Malinga who went for 19 in his third over which included to massive hit to the stands.
But young Dananjaya brought Samuels fighting knock to an end in the 17th over.
Samuels tried to hoist Dananjaya over midwicket but Jeewan Mendis gleefully pocketed it to set off a new round of celebrations.
His 56-ball 78 contained six sixes and three boundaries.
Samuels launched a counter attack in the 13th over bowled by Malinga by smashing three sixes to step up the tempo for West Indies.
The first over midwicket brought up the 50 of their innings while he cleared extra cover in the next delivery.
Malinga went for 21 in this over Samuels rounded it up with a straight hit over long on.
West Indies struggled to reach 32 for the loss of two wickets at the halfway stage of their innings.
Mendis removed the dangerous Gayle with his fifth delivery as West Indies struggled to14 for two at the end of the powerplay overs.
The jam-packed R Premadasa stadium filled with Lion flags roared in delight and fireworks lit up the night sky as Gayle was adjudged leg before to spinner Mendis for just three after facing 16 balls.
Gayle, who smashed a 41-ball 75 against Australia just two days ago at the same venue, failed to break the shackles as Sri Lanka attacked with nagging accuracy.
West Indies would have been in deeper trouble had Kulasekera not spilled a skier from Samuels in the 11th over off the second delivery from leg spinner Jeewan Mendis.
Dwayne Bravo hit the first six of the match in the 12th when he swung rookie spinner Akila Dananjaya to the midwicket boundary.
New-ball bowlers Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekera bowled excellent opening spells with only Marlon Samuels managing to squeeze a boundary through the covers.
West Indies lost opener Johnson Charles in the fifth ball of the match after electing to bat first.
Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena playing in his fourth major ICC final tossed the coin but West Indies skipper Darren called it right.
But Sri Lanka struck in the first over as Charles mistimed a drive off Angelo Mathews for Nuwan Kulasekera to take a simple catch at mid off with no runs on the board.
Hosts Sri Lanka brought in unorthodox spinner Akila Dananjaya for left armer Rangana Herath who produced a match-winning performance against Pakistan in the semifinals.
West Indies remained unchanged from the side which thrashed Australia in the semifinals on Friday.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Akila Dananjaya.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels .
J. Charles c Kulasekara b Mathews 0
C. Gayle lbw b A. Mendis 3
M. Samuels c J. Mendis b Dananjaya 78
D. Bravo lbw b A. Mendis 19
K. Pollard c Dananjaya b A. Mendis 2
A. Russell lbw b A. Mendis 0
D. Sammy not out 26
D. Ramdin not out 4
Extras: (lb2, w3) 5
Total: (for six wickets, 20 overs) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Charles), 2-14 (Gayle), 3-73 (Bravo), 4-87 (Pollard), 5-87 (Russell), 6-108 (Samuels).
Bowling: Mathews 4-1-11-1 (w1), Kulasekara 3-0-22-0 (w1), Malinga 4-0-54-0, A. Mendis 4-0-12-4 (w1), Dananjaya 3-0-16-1, J. Mendis 2-0-20-0
M. Jayawardene c Sammy b Narine 33
T. Dilshan b Rampaul 0
K. Sangakkara c Pollard b Badree 22
A. Mathews b Sammy 1
J. Mendis run out 3
T. Perera run out 3
L. Thirimanne c Charles b Sammy 4
N. Kulasekara c Badree b Narine 26
L. Malinga c Bravo b Narine 5
A. Mendis c Bravo b Samuels 1
A. Dananjaya not out 0
Extras: (lb2, nb1) 3
Total: (all out, 18.4 overs) 101
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Dilshan), 2-48 (Sangakkara), 3-51 (Mathews), 4-60 (Jayawardene), 5-61 (J. Mendis), 6-64 (Perera), 7-69 (Thirimanne), 8-96 (Kulasekara), 9-100 (A. Mendis).
Bowling: Badree 4-0-24-1, Rampaul 3-0-31-1 (nb1), Samuels 4-0-15-1, Gayle 2-0-14-0, Narine 3.4-0-9-3, Sammy 2-0-6-2
Result: West Indies win by 36 runs
Toss: West Indies
Man of the match: M. Samuels
Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS) and Aleem Dar (PAK)
TV umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)