In Twenty20 history, with eight global tournaments played so far, Sri Lanka has made it to the semifinals six times but the irony is that it neverwon the title. Now that SriLankans are trying for the coveted T20 World Cup 2014 for the seventh time, riding high on their recent win in Asia World Cup 2014, today’s match holds significance.
On his team, Paul Farbrace, Sri Lanka’s coach repeatedly emphasized the presence of players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in helping the younger team members.
"Every young cricketer in the Sri Lanka setup is very grateful of the seniors around them, the fact that there are former captains in the team, all of them are very giving of their time and their knowledge on and off the field," he said. "There has been a lot of talk about senior players coming to the end of their careers, etc – the young players are really lucky to have those senior players around them. That’s a real advantage."
Defending champions West Indies and Sri Lanka will aim to be the second when they meet in the first semifinal of the fifth edition of the tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday.
Spinners are likely to dominate in increasingly hot conditions in what is a repeat of the 2012 final, which was won by West Indies.
But Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara can twist the ball prodigiously and had ousted Chris Gayle in the past. Since both sides are focusing on spinners, Rangana Herath (5-3), who replaced Ajantha Mendis, bowled out the New Zealand for 60 in Chittagong on Monday.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was confident when he told the media ahead of the semifinals match with Sri Lanka that their team was tailor-made for twenty20 series.
"We’ve a lot of experience," Sammy said. "Eight of our players play in the Twenty20 leagues around the world. I guess we love that format and the type of players we have in the dressing room are probably suited for that format."
Batsmen such as Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo and bowlers Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, make the team full-fledged to win on Mirpur’s spin-friendly track, he said.
"Last World Cup, the mission was to win the World Cup. This year it’s to retain or defend the title. It’s something no team has done before. We are very confident we can do it."
Even Sri Lanka will have similar task on its shoulders after winning the Asia Cup 2014 just a mont ago and wishing to retain its No.1 status.
West Indies too have their two spinners — Sunil Narine (six wickets at a rate of 4.50) and leg-spinner Samuel Badree (10 wickets with an economy rate of 5.62). Even Badree, who opens the bowling is known for his wrist spin.
Left-arm-seamer and Jamaican player Krishmar Santokie, who replaced Ravi Rampaul, has made some breakthroughs by bowling mix of cutters and big swinging deliveries during the match against Pakistan when he bowled against Pakistan’s opener Ahmed Shehzad.
Live TV Telecast:
Viewers in Sri Lanka can tune in to CSN to watch the match, while those in West Indies can turn to ESPN Sportsx. Otherwise, here is the list of countries and TV channels where people can watch the match live.
India – Star Sports 2; Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1; UK – Sky Sports 2; Afghanistan – Lemar TV; Sri Lanka – CSN; Bangladesh – Bangladesh TV; UAE – OSN Sports Cricket; Africa – Supersports 2;
Online Live Streaming Information:
In Pakistan, click HERE / HERE. In Australia, click HERE. In the US cricket fans watch it HERE. In the UK, visitors can click HERE. In the Middle East, click HERE and in South Africa or Africa, visitors can click HERE.
For LIVE SCORE, ESPNCricinfo.com or any other official website.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Sachitra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal and Seekkuge Prasanna.
West Indies: Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy (capt), Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Krishmar Santokie, Ravi Rampaul, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher and Sheldon Cottrell.