West Indies captain Darren Sammy is confident that his side can become the very first to retain the T20 World Cup after they progressed through to the semi-finals of the competition.
An 84-run victory in their must-win game against Pakistan progressed the Windies past the group stages. Now they are preparing for a rematch of the 2012 final when they face Sri Lanka in the last four on Thursday.
No nation has won the tournament twice, let alone been triumphant in consecutive editions. But Sammy’s side lifted the trophy last with a 36-run win over their upcoming semi-final opponents. It was the second time that Sri Lanka have finished as runners-up.
And the 2012-winning captain has stated that there is a positive mood in the camp: "We left the Caribbean with that (winning the event) as the motivating factor for us," he was quoted by Sky Sports.
"Once we play the brand of cricket we played in the last three games, there is every possibility we can. Twenty20 is all about momentum and seizing the right opportunity. So far we've been able to do that and hopefully we can do that against Sri Lanka."
Since losing to India in their opening match, the West Indies fought back to win their remaining three group games.
These two sides had identical records in the round-robin phase, with Sri Lanka’s only defeat coming at the hands of England. They were immediately resurgent after that loss though; going on to comfortably beat New Zealand in their last match.
Rangana Herath was key to that success, taking extraordinary figures of 5-3. After spinning the Kiwis into a heap, he will be a big threat to the West Indian batsmen.
Nevertheless, the West Indies boast an intimidating batting line-up that is punctuated by Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle at the top of the order and is then powered by Sammy himself in the latter overs.
Veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are no slouches with a bat in hand either though and they will be looking to help Sri Lanka book their place in a fifth ICC final in the last seven years.
Despite playing on home soil, Sri Lanka were largely undone by Marlon Samuels’ knock of 78 in the 2012 final. The big hitter has yet to find top gear in this campaign, top scoring only as highly as 20 against Pakistan.
However, he will still be a threat in a side that possesses many master blasters. The outcome of Lasith Malinga’s overs at the death could be the most pivotal aspect of the game.
With the demons of lost finals haunting them, Sri Lanka’s incentive to qualify for yet another to exorcise those ghouls will be another contributing factor in the semi-final.
The winner of this match faces the prospect of either India or South Africa in the final of the World T20 this Sunday.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU