COLOMBO: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene played down the Chris Gayle factor in Sunday's World Twenty20 final saying the West Indies team was not just about the swashbuckling opener from Jamaica.
The left-hander destroyed Australia in Friday's semi-final with an unbeaten 75 off 41 balls, studded with six massive sixes and five fours.
Australia captain George Bailey said after his team's loss that Sri Lanka's title hopes will be over if the hosts failed to dismiss Gayle cheaply on Sunday.
“Not too much,” Jayawardene said when he was asked if Gayle will be a key factor in the final.
“He is just another player in a very good West Indies team. We have to have our focus on the entire team and the way we analyse and have a game plan is for a team not for individuals.
“That's not the way we went about this tournament. We never went after individual players. That's why we controlled things the way we can control.”
Gayle, 33, has been in superb form with three half-centuries and has scored 219 runs, including 19 fours and 16 sixes, the highest by an individual in the tournament.
Sri Lanka defeated West Indies by nine wickets the last time they met, in the Super Eight stage of the tournament.
“They played some good cricket and you've got to admire them,” Jayawardene told reporters.
“They got some quality players like any other team and they've got their strengths and weaknesses. Both teams deserve to be in the finals.”
Sri Lanka have lost their last three World Cup finals across different formats but Jayawardene is not ready to dwell too much on the past.
The right-hander was involved in all of them -- when Sri Lanka were defeated in the 50-over versions in 2007 and 2011 and also lost the World Twenty20 final in 2009.
“We don't want to go back into the past history and say that it hasn't worked for us,” Jayawardene told reporters.
“The preparation has been pretty good and we are not thinking too much about the final and what has happened and all that.
“We were not good enough to win those finals but we believe that we have the capacity to win this one. “We played good cricket to get to this place and we are looking forward to an exciting final tomorrow.”
Winning the toss to get the chance of batting first on the slow pitches often prove crucial in the sub-continent but Jayawardene said that in the shortest format of the game the conditions almost remained the same for both sides.
“It's funny how T20 cricket is, it's not a big game where the wicket's going to change quite a bit drastically so both teams have equal opportunities,” he said, admitting that playing in front of the vociferous home crowd was an advantage.
“You go for the toss and say this is our game plan and if it comes our way we'll try and execute that but if we lose the toss whatever the opposition team comes up with you change your game plan and try and work on that.”