ICC World T20 2014 Semifinals Schedule: Timings, Dates, Venue and What to Expect as World Cup Reaches Its Business End
By Deepak Vikraman | April 2, 2014 3:04 PM EST
The slam-bang thank you ma'am phase of the ICC World T20 is over, and now with only the wonderfully creamy centre of the macaroon/pastry/biscuit/bun remaining, we move onto the let's-hope-we-can-continue-to-hit-sixes phase as four teams look to move one step closer to lifting the World Cup.
India and West Indies have already done it before -- the former in the inaugural tournament, when they beat Pakistan in a dramatic final, and the latter in the last World T20, when their wonderfully entertaining, calypso-cool ways won them the crown.
It could be India vs West Indies in the final of the World T20, but then it could also be Sri Lanka vs South Africa in the summit clash, which would mean a new winner of the ICC World T20.
Before all of that conjecture of course, there is the small matter of the semifinals, where, first up, West Indies look to charm their way past we-cannot-be-the-bridesmaid-again, please-not-again Sri Lanka on Thursday, with India looking to give the blues to South Africa in another ICC tournament a day later.
India have been by far the best side in this edition of the World T20 in Bangladesh, blowing away Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh and Australia, in some style, with their spinners - Amit Mishra (9), R Ashwin (7) and Ravindra Jadeja (5), who have picked up a combined 21 wickets, coming to the party, grabbing all the attention, drinking all the booze (read taking opponents' wickets), without paying any money (read outsmarting the other side).
If the batsmen click and have that unbelievable day when everything leaving the bat pings its way to and beyond the boundary line, then India will be near unstoppable - not even AB De Villiers will be able to do much.
South Africa, at the other end, have been a little lucky to find their way in the semifinals, even if all that luck was made by them.
They were outplayed by Sri Lanka, but scraped past New Zealand, via that superhero Dale Steyn, before another back-to-the-walls bowling performance saw the eke past the Netherlands. England were their next victims, with De Villiers finding form, like only he can, to vanquish Stuart Broad and co. out of the tournament.
Imran Tahir and Steyn have been South Africa's aces in the pack so far, picking up 11 and 9 wickets respectively, and the duo will be the danger men for the India batsmen.
The first semifinal has so many intrigues, and possible twists and turns, that you can turn the pre-match suppositions into a gripping thriller. Sri Lanka were one of the favourites coming into the ICC World T20 2014, and remain so, with their bowling as powerful as a politician with a sweet tongue.
The batting is experienced, and equally dangerous, making this side an almost complete T20 unit.
But then, at the other end, you have a West Indies team, impossible not to like and root for, and impossible to predict. With the fearsome Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith opening the batting, and the marauding Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy to finish things off, they have as potent a batting lineup for this format of the game as there is.
The bowling is subtle, varied and difficult to tonk at will, making this West Indies also very much an all-round side, able to thump anyone on their day, and beat everyone even if they are not in top gear.
Schedule (all matches at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka): Semifinals: Thursday: Sri Lanka vs West Indies (7 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST).
Friday: India vs South Africa (7 pm, 6.30 pm IST).
Final: Sunday (7 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST).
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