World T20 semis, WI vs SL: Contests worth looking forward to

Sri Lanka and West Indies will lock horns in the 1st semi-final of the World T20. The Lions would be eyeing revenge of their World T20 final loss to the men from Caribbean in the 2012 edition. It’s going to be a cracker of a contest and here are the most interesting contests to watch out for.

Gayle vs Malinga: This is simply the battle of the tournament: one of the most dangerous batsmen versus one of the most astute bowlers in world cricket. The fact that Chris Gayle hasn’t had a good tournament so far can be ominous signs for Sri Lanka. That special innings is just lurking somewhere round the corner. Gayle surprised everyone with his sedate approach in the first two matches, against India 34(33) and Bangladesh 48(48) but then was back to normal against Australia with a blistering 53 off 35 balls. He failed against Pakistan(5) in the final group match. On his day, he can single-handedly win the match and there are high chances that he will take an attacking approach in the semi-final. This is where skipper Malinga will have a big say. The Sri Lankan pacer hasn’t opened the bowling in the tournament so far. With the ability to bowl yorkers and off-pace deliveries at will, Malinga can choke Gayle and hence chances are that he might open the bowling. The fast bowler has never dismissed Gayle in their four meetings so far in the T20Is and has had an average tournament so far. With both players looking to make amends, we can expect a mouth-watering contest.

West Indies' players pounce on captain Darren Sammy, second right, to celebrate their win over Australia in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP

West Indies' players pounce on captain Darren Sammy, second right, to celebrate their win over Australia in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP

Badree vs Kusal Perera: Kusal Perera started off the tournament in some style with a Man of the Match performance against South Africa with a brilliant 40-ball 61. But after that he has failed to impress. The flamboyant opener has enormous talent and plenty of strokes in his armoury. He loves the shortest format and has been Sri Lanka’s top run-getter (368 runs from 12 matches) in the last one year in T20Is. But he will face a stiff challenge against the No.1 bowler in T20Is, Samuel Badree. The move to open the bowling with Badree in this tournament has worked wonders for the Windies and his clever variations have bamboozled the opposition batsmen. With 10 wickets from four matches, Badree is the highest wicket-taker for West Indies and third-highest overall, he has an impressive economy rate of 5.62. Badree bowled a match-winning spell of 3/10 against Pakistan to help West Indies qualify for the semis. Leg spinners have ruled the roost in this tournament and Badree would look to make sure that Perera doesn’t get into that zone from where he can take the match away from the Windies.

Jayawardene vs Narine: Mahela Jayawardene is one of the classiest batsmen in world cricket. He can pace his innings to perfection, rotate strike and play big shots when needed. He came into the tournament on the back of poor form but has got into his groove in this tournament and has been Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in the tournament with 134 runs from four matches at 44.66. He is an astute batsman and is the top run-getter in the World T20’s. Someone who can outclass him is West Indies’ trump card, Sunil Narine. With his unlimited variations Narine can bamboozle even the top class batsmen in the world. He can bowl frugal spells in the middle overs and build up pressure. His economy rate in this tournament so far has been 4.50 which is brilliant. He was instrumental in helping West Indies clinch the World T20 title with a stupendous spell of 3/9 in the final against Sri Lanka in 2012. He had managed to scalp the wicket of Jayawardene in that match. With two astute competitors up against each other, we can expect an intriguing battle.

Sammy vs the death bowlers: Sammy has gone berserk in this tournament. He averages 101 with a strike rate of 224. He has destroyed the opposition death bowling and with 225 runs from 118 balls, West Indies have scored at 12.55 runs per over in the last five overs in the tournament. Sammy and Dwayne Bravo have been the major contributors in this death-run fest. This is where the roles of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara will be crucial. Sri Lanka would need to find a way to stop the WI skipper.

Updated Date: Apr 04, 2014 07:26 AM

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