Both Sri Lanka and West Indies played superbly to make it to the semifinal and it’s good to see the four best teams on form have made the cut. Sri Lanka must have been worried when they were dismissed for a small score but their spinners responded superbly on a helpful pitch.
Matches are played at the same venue, so as the tournament progresses, the pitches get drier and drier and spinners play a massive role. Still, Rangana Herath was just brilliant.
To pick 5 wickets in 4 overs is a tremendous achievement and Sri Lanka will be looking up to him again to get past West Indies. West Indies, especially Darren Sammy, was again outstanding.
Pakistan had control of the game in the first 15 overs but for the next 25 it was the Caribbeans. Sammy’s hitting against Australia and against Pakistan was amazing.
It was good he showed skills against both pace and spin in different conditions. He may not be blessed with the greatest of ability but has tremendous determination and passion that stands out in pressure situations. He bought up victory almost single-handedly and will again be a big threat to Sri Lanka.
The last time, the teams met in the final in Sri Lanka where the Caribbeans won. Although not much has changed in the sides, the Lankans will be trying to make amends.
It is the last tournament Mahela and Sanga will play in this format and these two champions will look finish on a winning note. The conditions will suit both the teams. They have spinners for these pitches but Malinga and Santoki will also have big roles to play.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal will return after suspension but Sri Lanka will have to find a place for Kushal Perera at the top because he can be a dangerous player.
Sri Lanka will play for the first time on this pitch in this competition but their Asia cup experience will ensure they are not surprised by its slowness.
They also see this type of pitches a lot back home. At the end of the day, it’s going to be as much a battle of nerves as skill.
The writer is a former india skipper