The Oval is the place to be on Friday as I expect a real contest between the West Indies and Sri Lanka. The Windies will take the confidence of some really good results at this venue, Oval being their favourite ground in England. They did lose their last match here to South Africa, but ran them close and the difference was basically the fine bowling of young Wayne Parnell.
Skipper Chris Gayle hasn’t fired since he sent Australia out of the tournament, but that means he’s due for a big one.
The experienced trio of Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo has delivered, as has Lendl Simmons, the find of the tournament.
The Lankans though, have grown from strength to strength and in the three Ms --- Lasith Malinga, Muthiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, have a threesome who can defend most totals.
Their batting may a little more varied in the sense there is only M involved, Mahela Jayawardene, but everything depends on how the top four of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene go.
Overall, despite Lanka’s all-win record thus far in the tournament, if I had to make a call, I would put it 55-45 in favour of the Windies, simply because the match is at The Oval.