Mahela Jayawardene will look to make his mark in his final T20I tournament © Getty Images
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mirpur: Apr 2, 2014
West Indies versus Sri Lanka semi-final encounter in ICC World T20 2014 is a rematch of the previous final. West Indies stormed into the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 2014 by beating Pakistan to setup a date with Sri Lanka, and they will clash at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Thursday. Sri Lanka too worked their way into the semi-final with a comprehensive victory over New Zealand in their last Super 10s game. Thus, both sides have momentum and it is tough to pick a winner on the day.
To start with, the spin factor would be very crucial. Sri Lanka summoned Rangana Herath for the last game and he was magnificent. He had replaced Ajantha Mendis for that game and it would be interesting to see if they decide to bring him back. Sachithra Senanayake was the other spinner, but it looks like Sri Lanka wouldn’t make changes. West Indies have a settled pair in Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree. Both have done exceedingly well in the last game against Pakistan and would be looking to take that form forward.
West Indies have gradually got better with their performance, as the tournament has gone by. Chris Gayle has had only one good innings of note and he would certainly be fired up to do the job. Dwayne Smith too is in a similar situation and it is imperative that these two help West Indies to a good start. There may be a bit of concern over Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons, who have got starts, but haven’t converted it into big scores.
At the same time, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy’s form with the bat is encouraging and they are the designated finishers in this team. There is of course Denesh Ramdin who can bat, but in the lower-order, Sammy and Bravo are vital cogs of the team. West Indies go in with one front-line fast bowler in Krishmar Santokie, who can cause a few problems with his variations and movement. Sammy and Bravo would fill in should the need arise.
Sri Lanka would want their batting to click as a unit. So far, they have seen good individual performances, but need a team effort to counter this West Indies team. A lot of the focus would be on Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, men who are playing their last T20 International (T20I) tournament. They would hope for a win to get that one more game in and possibly lift the cup.
Dinesh Chandimal should come back after serving his one-match suspension and that results in Lahiru Thirimanne being left out. Sri Lanka bank on Lasith Malinga in the fast bowling department. But, interestingly, they start with Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara first up. Even Thisara Perera can bowl a few handy overs.
With two heavyweight sides lining up against each other, one can expect a good contest at Mirpur. One would certainly hope that the contest is better than the previous final. Can Sri Lanka avenge that defeat?
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Sachitra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lahiru Thirimana, Suranga Lakmal.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (c), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Krishmar Santokie, Ravi Rampaul, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Sheldon Cottrell.
Time: 19:00 IST | 01:30 GMT
ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details
ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)