When defending champions West Indies meet Sri Lanka, the most successful team of T20 and T20 World Cup too, one of them will become the second team after Pakistan to reach two consecutive World Cup finals in T20. Sri Lanka has won 4 of their 5 games, all in T20 World Cup, against West Indies, but then West Indies have won the most important of their match and that is the final that too when Sri Lankans felt comfortable at home. While T20 game can be anyone’s game on a given day and rankings hardly matter, knockouts test nerves more than Cricketing skills. Considering the nerve factor, West Indies hold better chance to reach the final.
Sri Lanka has won four matches in T20 World Cup against West Indies, including the 2009 semifinal. But their last match saw West Indies emerging the 4th champions of the 4th T20 World Cup.
Head-To-Head: SL Leads WI 4-1
- 2009: Sri Lanka won by 15 runs.
Sri Lanka won Semifinal by 57 runs
2010: Sri Lanka won by 57 runs.
2012: Sri Lanka won by 9 wkts
West Indies won the final by 36 runs
SL Performance in 2014 WC
Sri Lanka started with two wins, tumbled and had to play a virtual quarterfinal to reach the semifinal, winning 3 and losing 1.
- 1. SL edged South Africa by 5 runs.
2. SL trounced Netherlands by 9 wickets.
3. England def SL by 6 wickets, chasing high total.
4. SL defended low score to win against New Zealand by 59 runs.
WI Performance in 2014 WC
West Indies started with a scare, reunited, still had to play a virtual quarterfinal to reach the semifinal, winning 3 and losing 1.
- 1. WI were trounced by India by 7 wickets.
2. WI trounced Bangladesh by 73 runs.
3. WI shocked Australia by 6 wickets.
4. WI trounced Pakistan by 84 runs.
SL Team Performance in 2014 WC
While the trio of oldies are waiting for the last match of current World Cup to retire, Sri Lanka has seen mixed performances from them. Mahela with 134 runs in 4 matches is their highest scorer of this tournament. Dilshan has managed a half-century to aggregate 75 runs, while Sanga has just 18 runs in 3 innings.
Even in bowling Malinga and Mendis have failed, while Kulasekara and Senanayake have emerged as their key bowler with 6 wickets. Herath with his single appearance has certainly given them extra confidence. Yet, it is unfortunate for a team that they are not sure even till semifinal if they should play their official captain Chandimal. Their defence of low target in virtual quarterfinal against New Zealand showed their resolve to win their first World Cup, but then Chandimal was not playing in the match and Malinga was the captain and team played as a unit.
- 1. They have no star performer, except Herath if one match can summarize the tournament.
2. Mahela is their only batsmen aggregating 100+ runs so far. But he is not a big hitter.
- 1. The old trio of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Mahela are the best to defy spin challenge of West Indies.
2. Herath has emerged at the right time.
3. Chandimal was on bench before semifinal and that can help them decide to give him rest.
WI Team Performance in 2014 WC
West Indies was outplayed by India. But then they have outplayed others and appear superior. Three of their batsmen have aggregated above 100 runs, 4 of their bowlers have taken 5+ wickets and three of them have economy below 6 runs per over. They have emerged ruthless in the last 5 overs as captain Sammy and Dwayn Bravo has done unimaginable big hitting in more than one matches. Sammy appears to be the most motivating captain of the tournament so far. Overall, everything is going right for them.
- 1. Gayle is still not in full flow.
2. Santokie is yet to find a pace partner.
3. They are not gaining momentum in first 10 overs.
- 1. Gayle is slowly retaining normalcy.
2. They are brutally successful in the last 5 overs while batting.
3. Their bowling in the death overs is one of the best of the tournament.
4. The trio of Santokie, Narine and Badree are making all teams helpless.
Challenges for Teams
Sorting out Captaincy issue is the biggest challenge Lankans face, besides the decision on whether to play Mendis with Senanayake and Herath.
West Indies on the other have no such challenges. They are getting better by every match.
West Indies will Win
West Indies have better performing bowlers right from beginning to the end. Sri Lankan bowling is yet to bowl as a unit. West Indies batsmen are hitting boundaries with ease and scored big against almost all teams, except India. Sri Lankans were tied down even by New Zealanders. Their bowlers saved them. But West Indies is a good batting unit against spinners. Even fielding gives extra edge to the Carribeans. Overall, although Bangladesh may be second home for Sri Lankans, Caribbeans appear to be better team to exploit the conditions, and the short boundaries.