Sri Lanka v West Indies, World T20, semi-final April 2, 2014

Malinga to lead SL in semi after Chandimal opts out


Play 03:44
Gayle: Haven't felt so good in a long time

Match facts

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Start time 1900 local (13.00 GMT)

Big Picture

Two things are certain in Thursday night's semi-final. One, the West Indies players will have the Mirpur crowd eating out of their hands; a jig, happy or otherwise, is likely. And two, Lasith Malinga will lead Sri Lanka - the confusion over the team captain being sorted hours before the toss, with Sri Lanka Cricket tweeting that Dinesh Chandimal had "opted not to play" in the semi-final.

When these teams clashed in the last World T20, the final had been a celebration of flair, but 18 months on, both teams have developed formulae with which to knead the talent at their disposal. West Indies have embraced conservatism with the bat, allowing Dwayne Smith to play as he wishes in the Powerplay, but generally seeking to keep wickets in hand to unleash at the back end. As the 82 runs in the final five overs of their innings against Pakistan proved, they have become increasingly adept at this through the tournament. With the ball, Samuel Badree and Krishmar Santokie have been as penetrative as they have been economical, thanks in part to a helpful Mirpur surface.

Sri Lanka have had among the most entertaining trips to the semi-final. They opened their campaign against South Africa who ch… errr, made poor use of a winning position under considerable pressure from the opposition. They brushed Netherlands aside before their bus driver had found a parking space. Then, having hit 189, they lost in dispiriting fashion to England, before orchestrating a rabid defence of 119 against New Zealand. In short, Sri Lanka have been like Pakistan.

Sri Lanka might have preferred a semi-final against Pakistan, because at least they understand how to counter Pakistan's style of cricket, to some extent. A peaking West Indies unit will cause more worry in their camp, particularly because the wounds of Marlon Samuels' game-breaking Premadasa assault will have barely healed over. West Indies will be confident they can take Lasith Malinga apart, as they did during that match, so the onus is on Sri Lanka to arrive at an effective strategy.

Form guide

Sri Lanka: WLWWW (completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies: WWWLL

In the spotlight

If there is one man who can put Sri Lanka in the final through strategy alone, it has to be the team's best ever tactician, Mahela Jayawardene. He called the shots in the game against New Zealand, spreading fear in the hearts of opposition batsmen by placing a slip and short leg around them, and rotated bowlers masterfully. The whole thing made Sri Lanka fans nostalgic for the days of his leadership, when Sri Lanka played their most attractive cricket since the late '90s, and inspiring turnarounds against powerful opposition almost became the norm. He is also Sri Lanka's best big-match player in any discipline. He will be desperate for this match not to be his last in the format.

Darren Sammy has unequivocally been the best finisher of the tournament, to the extent that West Indies' game plan takes his success at the death for granted. He has come off in almost every game, and sits on a tournament strike rate of 224 and an average of 101. Sri Lanka will also remember the unbeaten 26 off 15 that pushed West Indies' total from competitive to commanding in the 2012 final, and more recently, the 30 not out from 14 that helped set up West Indies victory in a warm-up match. Sammy v Malinga has the potential to become the defining contest of the match.

Team news

With Chandimal opting out, Lahiru Thirimanne may get a second game in the tournament. There is also a chance legspinning allrounder Sekkuge Prasanna could replace Thisara Perera.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga (capt), 11 Rangana Herath

West Indies have all their parts in place, well-oiled, humming like a Lamborghini on a Sunday afternoon drive. Their XI is more settled.

West Indies (probable) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Andre Russell, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Krishmar Santokie

Pitch and conditions

Pitches have become notoriously difficult to score on at this end of the tournament, particularly for teams batting second. Dew is less of a concern in Mirpur than it was in Chittagong. The weather is expected to be fine.

Stat and trivia

  • Mahela Jayawardene is the top scorer in World T20s with 992 runs. Chris Gayle is second with 804, but has a slightly better average and strike rate
  • Including this one, West Indies have made three semi-finals in this tournament and Sri Lanka, four. The last time they met at this stage, in 2009, Sri Lanka won
  • Samuel Badree is the third-highest wicket taker in the tournament so far, with 10 scalps at an average of 9 and an economy rate of 5.62


"Chandimal is a very exciting young cricketer. He has got an excellent cricket brain and he was chosen because of those factors. He had a tough time and people have been very quick to point it out."
Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace defends the team's captain

"The offspinners are the ones who have got wickets against us so we don't mind their left-arm-spinner. Hopefully, we don't play him as the New Zealanders did..."
West Indies captain Darren Sammy does not think Rangana Herath will bother his team

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Good luck WI, you have the power in both your batting and bowling line ups, this SF is yours to lose, there are obviously problems in SL's camp so bring it home and wait for the finals, they must have the result of the last final in their minds, especially Mr Malinga, now he has an additional responsibility, grasp that opportunity...keep a steady head.

  • abc on April 3, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    This match is between efficient team players and powerful individuals. Hope to c cracker of a match. 2010- Host- Eng, 2012-Eng Winners, 2010-Host-WI, 2012-WI Winners, 2012-Host-SL 2014-??? Winner. Lets c if this repeats. Best of luck to both teams. Let the best team win. Ind Fan PS- Ind & SL fans please stop bashing each other. It's just a sport and keep the spirit of the sport intact while commenting.

  • ESPN on April 3, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    @ prema1948 you are correct 1979 SL produced cricketers like Roy Dias, mendis, wettimuny, Anura tenekoon, Ranasonghe, tony opatha and somachandra desiva to name few From Indian fan

  • Cricket on April 3, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    Expeting a great match fom both the finest T20 cricket teams. Best of luck for both.

  • Peace on April 3, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    Luck is with SL today. SL won the toss. Lets see how well SL unitizes batting fist. Definitely WI will not collapse like NZ did.

    I think SL is hoping that there will not be any due while they bowl. but what if there is a due ??????? BIG question ????

    Some times its better to loose the toss. lets see what happens today night.. cant wait for the result... Enjoy all.

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    I think west indies is going to win as they have the most attacking batting lineup of this year's ICC world 20...on above of that they have some excellent spinners like narine,badree etc.....i hope that Gayle really fires today and proves his critics that he is the most attacking batsman in world cricket especially in T20 format....

  • Prince on April 3, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Chandimal great personality!! Great Character!! One fine day the good things you have done for SL cricket will come back to you.... Keep it Up!!

  • Android on April 3, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Sri Lanka please don't make this match as mahela and sangas last match.good luck best performing team win.

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Pitch and conditions "Pitches have become notoriously difficult to score on at this end of the tournament, particularly for teams batting second. Dew is less of a concern in Mirpur than it was in Chittagong. The weather is expected to be fine"(espncricinfo on Today's Semi) But for Sri Lanka there is no any need for any given conditions.... "In spite of the dampness, the Australians would have batted first in any event, but Ranatunga chose to field first in the hope of some early wickets for his seamers, and because his batsmen had shown exceptional maturity of temperament in their earlier run-chases"(Wisdenalmanack on 1996 world cup which we have won)

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2014, 12:25 GMT i has expected that,,,,