Sixteen teams started the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh with high hopes of slogging their way to glory. Now, though, just four remain as the Super 10 stage comes to a close.
We’ve seen drama of the highest order, with last-minute victories, shock defeats and, of course, sixes galore.
The Super 10 stage separated the men from the boys, and after four respective group matches, the semi-finals will see showdowns between India, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Below are the final Super 10 group standings, with a look ahead at the semi-finals as the World Twenty20 approaches its thrilling climax.
|Sri Lanka (Q)||4||3||1||6|
|South Africa (Q)||4||3||1||6|
|West Indies (Q)||4||3||1||6|
|Date||Stage||Team 1||Team 2|
|April 3rd||Semi-Final||Sri Lanka||West Indies|
|April 4th||Semi-Final||India||South Africa|
The first semi-final sees Group 2 runners-up and defending champions West Indies face the Sri Lankans in Mirpur, who breezed through Group 1.
Per ESPN Cricinfo, these sides met in a pre-tournament warm-up match, where the West Indies dominated proceedings with a 33-run victory over the Sri Lankans.
Dwayne Smith was the standout performer for the Windies with the bat, posting a 60, and his form continued into the opening stages of the Super 10s.
Against Pakistan, Smith batted beautifully to reach 72 and he deservedly picked up the man-of-the-match award. Following the match, the West Indies’ official Twitter feed was quick to laud the effort of their opening batsman:
Dwayne Smith struck 72 today to help the Windies to a 73 run win over Bangladesh. Re-tweet for a congratulations. http://t.co/3mpIe0xps0— westindies (@westindies) March 25, 2014
If Smith can find form in the semi-final with his partner Chris Gayle, then they’ll undoubtedly trouble the Sri Lankan bowlers—who have incidentally been in phenomenal form with the ball.
Sri Lanka limited both the Netherlands and New Zealand to miniscule totals of 39 and 60 respectively, with Rangana Herath the hero against the latter.
Herath tore apart the Kiwi order, posting astonishing figures of 5-for-3 with 18 dots to boot. As Cricket Record revealed via Twitter, Herath’s economy rate of 0.85 has never been matched in T20Is:
Rangana Herath 3.3-2-3-5 - his economy rate 0.85 is the best ever by anyone in a T20I match with at-least 2 wickets. #wt20— Cricket Record (@cricinfo_record) March 31, 2014
With their only blip coming against England (where they could do nothing about Alex Hales’ 116), Sri Lanka’s bowlers are in astonishing form heading into the semi-finals, where they’ll look to emulate their exploits of 2009 and 2012 by making it through to the final.
On the other side of the draw, South Africa take on the invincible Indians, who chalked up four wins out of four in the Super 10 stage.
South Africa, meanwhile, won three of their group matches by the narrowest of margins, with England, the Netherlands and New Zealand coming perilously close to defeating the Proteas.
Following their victory over the Netherlands, where the Dutch came within just seven runs of a scalp, South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis spoke to BBC Sport and reflected on his side’s ability to win even in the shakiest of circumstances: “I think we are making it hard for ourselves. It's a great sign when your side is not playing 100 per cent and still gets over the line."
India, though, have had no such problems and have simply blown the field away in Bangladesh.
They opened with two seven-wicket victories against Pakistan and West Indies before thrashing Bangladesh and Australia by eight wickets and 73 runs respectively.
Rohit Sharma has been the man in form with the bat for India, playing his way to two half-centuries in the opening three matches, per ESPN Cricinfo.
Fans were quick to take to Twitter to praise Sharma’s contribution, including Kings XI Punjab’s feed:
.@ImRo45 congrats! Brilliant 50. Take us all the way home.— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) March 28, 2014
The plaudits are nothing short of what Sharma deserves, and if he and his fellow Indian stars can keep up their breath-taking form, they’ll once again make light work of their opposition.