October 5, 2012
Start time 1900 (1330 GMT)
When Australia and West Indies met earlier in this World Twenty20, the match was set up for a fascinating finish when rain intervened. The Australians had struggled to contain Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels and West Indies had powered to 191 - easily the highest total Australia have conceded in the tournament. The chase was tantalisingly poised at 100 for 1 in the tenth over when the rain came. Nearly two weeks later, the stakes are considerably higher. That encounter should serve as a warning to both sides. It reminded Australia that if they don't get Gayle cheaply they will find themselves under the kind of pressure that could be tournament-ending. And it showed West Indies that runs on the board are of no value unless your bowlers are up to the job - especially when Shane Watson is around.
But as much as lessons can be learnt from that match, the expectations on each of the sides have changed significantly since then. Australia entered the tournament without being rated a serious threat by many observers, but they and Pakistan have been the stand-out sides. West Indies flew in to Sri Lanka expected to have their best chance of a global trophy in quite some time, yet remarkably they have scraped through to the semi-finals by winning only one match in the conventional way - they have also had a tie that turned into a victory via the Super Over, a wash-out and a pair of losses. They need this to be the match when they really kick into gear.
It is worth noting that the toss is likely to be irrelevant in this encounter. Australia prefer to chase and have done so in every match of this World T20. West Indies like to bat first, and not since June 2011 have they chased a target - the only time they were to bat second in that time was against Ireland earlier in this tournament, when rain prevented a second innings.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
All the attention has been on Shane Watson but Michael Hussey
has been quietly racking up the runs at No. 3. His work against Pakistan was outstanding, when under pressure he did enough to get the Australians past the mark at which they qualified for the semi-finals, even if victory was too tall a task. His experience and coolness at the crease will be just what the Australians need at the business end of this tournament - his 60 from 24 balls against Pakistan in the semi-final of the 2010 World T20 is evidence of that. The captain George Bailey summed Hussey up thus: "You might not be feeling like he's hurting you but suddenly you look up at the scoreboard and he has just ticked along. More importantly, it seems whenever he's batting, the partnership motors along."
Who else but Chris Gayle? West Indies have other players who can be destructive, but he is the one man Australia know can turf them out of the tournament on his own. He struck 54 against them in the group stage and although he has not produced an enormous innings yet in this World T20, he has threatened to do so. "He is the one guy who makes you panic a lot more because he takes you on," Australia's coach Mickey Arthur said. "The longer he bats, the more he becomes tougher to bowl at ... It becomes tough when you're executing under that much pressure to a guy like Chris Gayle because if you miss your area by that much, he scores, but I'm confident we have the artillery to keep that in check."
Australia will consider bringing the T20 veteran David Hussey in and the likely candidate to miss out would be Glenn Maxwell. However, that is far from certain and would almost certainly be the only change.
Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Michael Hussey, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Cameron White, 6 Glenn Maxwell/David Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Brad Hogg, 11 Xavier Doherty
West Indies are likely to again choose the twin spin options of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree on the wearing Premadasa pitch. It seems unlikely that any of Fidel Edwards, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons or Dwayne Smith will be able to force their way in.
West Indies (probable) 1 Johnson Charles, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Ravi Rampaul.
Stats and trivia
- This is the second time West Indies have reached the World T20 semi-finals; in 2009 they lost to Sri Lanka when Gayle scored 63 but nobody else in the side reached double figures
- Shane Watson is the leading wicket taker and run scorer in the tournament
"Their batting is no doubt their strength. If you can knock [Gayle] over early it really does put pressure on the rest of their batsmen to step up."
"We like to play against them. We had a good series against them in the Caribbean in the T20s and the ODIs...we know they're a good side, but no one in our team fears them." Toby Radford, the West Indies' assistant coach.