Sri Lanka vs. West Indies: Prediction, Head-to-Head, Top Batsmen and Bowlers

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

Sri Lanka players celebrates their victory against New Zealand during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Monday, March 31, 2014. Sri Lanka won by 59 runs. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
A.M. Ahad

The West Indies will be looking to take one step closer to a second consecutive World Twenty20 trophy when they take on Sri Lanka in the first semi-final in Mirpur on Thursday. 

Equally, Sri Lanka will be looking to take revenge on the Windies for downing them in the final of the 2012 edition of the World T20 in Colombo. 

Both sides have performed impressively so far in the tournament with Sri Lanka topping Group 1 thanks to three victories against South Africa, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

The West Indies also won three gamesagainst Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistanbut had to settle for second in Group 2 behind undefeated India. 

Everything is set up for a tight contest between these two sides.


Top Bowlers

CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH - MARCH 31:  Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka celebrates dismissing Luke Ronchi of New Zealand during the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 Group 1 match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on March 31, 20
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Thursday's game should be a fascinating battle of spin bowling as each side comes into this match on the back of tremendous performances with the ball. 

In their final group games, the West Indies bowled out Pakistan for just 82 while Sri Lanka skittled new Zealand for a lowly 60.

On both occasions, it was spin bowling that took the majority of the wickets. Rangana Herath claimed remarkable figures of 3-5 against the Kiwis while Sachithra Senanayake took 2-3.

Meanwhile, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine took six wickets between them against Pakistan.

And Sri Lanka also boast the inimitable stylings of Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis, while the West Indies have reliable medium-pace man Krishmar Santokie, whose economy rate is a highly respectable 5.59 for the tournament, per ESPNcricinfo


Top Batsmen

DHAKA, BANGLADESH - APRIL 01:  Darren Sammy of the West Indies hits a six during the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 match between West Indies and Pakistan at Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium on April 1, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

West Indies captain Darren Sammy has the highest strike rate of any player who has played more than one inning so far this tournament. After scoring 101 runs in four innings in the competition, his strike rate currently stands at a staggering 224.44, per ESPNcricinfo.

His devastating finishing could be a key factor in this encounter if the West Indies are chasing.

Sammy will look to repeat the incredible 34 off 13 balls that he scored to record victory over Australia in the group stage, the West Indies' most significant batting performance of the tournament so far as they chased down a total of 178.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will look to their top scorer Mahela Jayawardene to keep the scoreboard ticking over. He currently has an average of 44.66 form in four innings, per ESPNcricinfo.


Head-to-Head and Prediction

Aijaz Rahi

The West Indies' victory in the 2012 final over Sri Lanka is the only time they have claimed a win in this fixture in the T20 format, with Sri Lanka victorious on all four other occasions, per ESPNcricinfo.

While Sri Lanka have the numerical advantage, this fact reveals very little about the outcome of Thursday's encounter as it is the West Indies who have the most recent and most significant victory. 

It's a very tricky game to call, but West Indies' batting strength gives them the edge.

Both sides have fantastic bowling attacks, but the Windies look to have greater firepower in their ranks with the bat.

Expect a tight game with the West Indies edging it slightly.