About 7 years back, the One Day International World Cup was held with much fanfare. A few months later, the game turned on it’s head. Cricket’s newest format had come alive and had set the world on fire. Chris Gayle’s swashbuckling century in the first match ensured that the World Cup started off in a grand fashion.
3 t20 World Cups have been held since and each of them have produced different winners. Each of them have had their own glitz and glamour. As we are in the business end of the tournament, we are sure as to who is playing who this year and let us take a look at the teams and their path towards the semi finals. Also, we’ll take a look at what the semi final offers us.
Semi Final 1:West Indies vs Sri Lanka
West Indies have had a fair tournament so far with three wins and just a solitary loss against India. Other than the match against India, they’ve produced some fine display. They are filled with specialists for this particular format and they can win against any team on their day.
In the match against Pakistan, West Indies scored 84 in the first 15 overs but in the next five, they smashed the ball all around the park while scoring an emphatic 82 of just 30 balls. This clearly shows the calibre of the lower order of the West Indies. The spin twins Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine then took over as they took three wickets each to pack the Pakistanis off.
Contrary to West Indies, Sri Lanka have not had a very explosive batting line up so far. But they are nonetheless very dangerous and with erstwhile stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene still in the reckoning, anything may happen. Jayawerdene’s 89 against England was classy and elegant at the same time but it was overshadowed by Alex Hales’ blistering century.
If the batting were anything but below par so far, the bowling has been tremendous. Rangana Herath’s magical five wickets for three runs was what pummelled the Lankan lions into the Semis. His brand of accurate and tidy spin bowling have bamboozled many a batsman. Malinga’s toe crushing yorkers are still a batsman’s nightmare. And coupled with Nuwan Kulasekera’s swing bowling, Ajantha Mendis’ crafty spin bowling and captain Angelo Mathews’ brand of medium pace have ensured that Sri Lanka are into the Semis yet again.
And if form was to indicate anything about this fixture I’d at this juncture fancy the Lankans as they are much more experienced in their batting line up and their bowling is phenomenal.
Semi Final 2:South Africa vs India
South Africa have generally been the chokers as they’ve lost out almost all their opportunities for winning an ICC Tournament. This time though, the South Africans are in with a realistic chance. With the conditions familiar to most of the players due to the IPL, the batsmen are not struggling like how they used to. Faf Du Plessis, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla and AB De Villiers have all experienced sub continental conditions and they are using that to their advantage.
With just a solitary loss in their campaign, they look as good as ever. The batsmen led by captain Du Plessis himself are firing on all cylinders and the bowlers are not that far behind too. Dale Steyn with his fiery pace has scarred many a batsman and this time too it’s no exception. Their fast bowlers have been a little slow off the blocks and have been reshuffled often but one clear positive is the bowling of leggie Imran Tahrir. With 11 wickets in his kitty, he is high on confidence this time around.
Their opposition India, have by far been the best team in this tournament. For once they look complete in all the departments with ,surprisingly, the bowlers performing better than the batsmen. Amit Mishra’s bowling has been a huge welcome for a team that was devoid of quality bowlers. His form and temperament has lifted the team and they are performing exceedingly well this time around.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Shami Mohammed have become a quality pace bowling duo and it’ll be interesting to see as to how they bowl against the South Africans who are rather fond of pace.
The batting for once has not bore the brunt of shouldering the team’s rise. There have been a few good performances starting with Rohit Sharma who has scored a few centuries to his credit and Virat Kohli who is seemingly becoming the best batsman in the world due to his sheer weight of runs. He has become a vital cog for the Indian team and his variety of strokes give any bowler a nightmare. The major positive from the Super 10 is the comeback of Yuvraj Singh’s batting. Many had doubted his credentials prior to the match against Australia and he answered his critics in some style by scoring a stylish half century which eventually put India into the drivers’ seat.
This clash is surely one to look out for and according to me it will be India’s spin bowling versus the South African batsmen as both the camps have more or less have had decent performances. And if I were to chose one among these two, it would surely be India due to the familiarity of the conditions and the quality of spinners in their ranks.
The two semi finals are surely going to be a treat for the spectators’ eye. Also, it would be very interesting to see how all the four teams fare as they are going to play in Dhaka where all four of them have not played yet. Whether the pitch will play a huge role, will be a matter of discussion but until then just sit back and enjoy till the two semi finals of the ICC t20 World Cup take place!