As the spirited West Indians take on the consistent Sri Lankans in the 1st Semi-Final at Shere Bangla Stadium, every one will be glued to their television sets to witness what is going to be a thriller of a match. West Indies will hope for a repeat of their triumphant performance during the Final of the previous edition of World T20 while Sri Lanka will look to take a bitter revenge on the Carribeans. By the end of this match, a team will be either dancing to the Gangnam beats or celebrating as other teams normally do. So, let’s have a quick preview of the 1st Semi Final of the ICC World T20’14.
Considering the sub continental conditions, both teams are on an even pitch as they have the quality in the form of game-changing spinners. Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine have performed to their utmost level so far in this tournament and will look to bowl in this game with the same spirit. Leg spinners have had a field day this tournament. Badree can take some motivation from this and he will be surely a player to watch out for in this crucial semi. But on the opposite side will be batsmen like Tillekratne Dilshan and veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The two stalwarts of Sri Lankan batting line up have called retirements from T20 cricket and will look to make it count when they face the West Indies.
Young Kusal Perera has also been the batsman in the reckoning since the blistering knock he played against the South Africans. The way he bats, clearly reminds the attacking game of Sanath Jayasuria. One of the most beautiful sights is when he, seamlessly, flicks a fast bowler to clear the ropes. Jayasuria has been his mentor and if Perera plays like the veteran, then the game can be easily turned over its head in the first few overs.
West Indies top order has been clearly struggling against spin bowling. Chris Gayle is not looking in the form he was in the T20 World Cup, held in Sri Lanka. The forecast for Gayle Storm seem to be proving correct as the old Gayle is missing. Barring his innings against Australia, he has been struggling against spin. In the upcoming semi-final, he will be against spinners like Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath. Barring Dwayne Bravo and Captain Darren Sammy, there isn’t much depth in this Windies side and it seems they have to rely much in their bowling unit to restrict the Sri Lankan batsmen.
West Indies will have the support from the crowd like they got during the match against Pakistan. The main problem of the opponents, of the West Indies, is that the Carribeans can defeat any team if they are pumped up. They will come to you charging while bowling and will field like monsters jumping from one place to the other. They will tease you in the field dancing in the midst of game play and also while taking a catch- no matter how easy that catch would be.
So if one sees from the mental aspect, it’s the West Indies who are the favorites in this crucial game as they will have the crowd going with them and will also take some motivation from their world cup victory, 2 years back. But if one sees from the team’s strength aspect, it’s the Sri Lankans as they have the strong batting line up, quality spinners and also an expert death overs bowler in Lasith Malinga. Thus it will be a thriller of a contest at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka.