The semifinal lineup for the World T20 is now complete and we can safely say the four best sides have advanced to the knockouts. Sri Lanka take on West Indies in the first semi this evening in a rematch of the 2012 World T20 final which West Indies won.
We can expect a thrilling contest looking at the convincing manner in which both sides sealed their place in the last four. West Indies certainly played like reigning world champions against both Pakistan and Australia.
They seem to be a team peaking at the right time and the bowling department is also looking like a potent force thanks to the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree who were both magnificent against Pakistan.
In a tournament that will be remembered for its generosity to the spinners, Rangana Herath also delivered an exceptional performance in Sri Lanka’s own ‘do or die’ encounter against New Zealand.
Kudos to the veteran, as I don’t think there would’ve been many tipping him to emerge a hero with the Lankans defending a modest target of 120. Lasith Malinga stepping in as captain of the team in place of regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal who had to serve a one-match suspension also proved a good omen for Sri Lanka.
The worrying sign for the Lankans is their inconsistency with the bat. When they’ve got into a rut, no one has been able to bail them out of trouble as we saw against New Zealand especially.
It’s a different story for the Caribbean outfit who’ve been able to count on Dwayne Bravo or skipper Darren Sammy to make an impact down the order. I expected they would look to bat first and score big against Pakistan and then restrict the Pakistani batsmen. Their execution was spot on and I’m sure they’ll stick with the same game plan against the Lankans.
The wicket at Dhaka should be even more favourable to spin than Chittagong although that should please both teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sri Lanka consider the three-spinner theory which would mean bringing back Ajantha Mendis who made way for Herath against the Kiwis.
One thing’s for sure though – the Windies batsmen won’t be making the same mistake as their New Zealand counterparts and go into a shell against Herath and company. Their mindset will be to attack even if they lose wickets in a heap.
The Windies hold a slight edge for me, and if Chris Gayle finally plays one of his signature innings, then they could well move to within a match of defending their crown.