The spot for the second finalist of the ICC World T20 2016 will be finalised at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday when hosts India take on West Indies in the much-awaited second semi-final.
The battle between the two sides to join England — who thrashed unbeaten favourites New Zealand on Wednesday by a whopping seven wickets — in the final promises to be intense, with both sides boasting of immense batting potential on a Wankhede track that has been kind so far to the batsmen.
While there are several aspects to the rivalry between the two sides that we ought to look into, the clash between batting giants Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle will undoubtedly be the soul of the match.
There are several similarities between Kohli and Gayle — both enjoy immense popularity in India, have an insatiable appetite for runs, and play winning knocks more often than not.
And yet they could not be more different. Kohli’s knocks are defined by classy, textbook cover drives and pulls while Gayle relies on brute power in sending the ball into the orbit.
Plus, the two play different roles in their batting line-ups: while Gayle gets his side off to a blazing start and builds solid foundation for a big total, Kohli is often known to anchor the innings and may go down in history as one of the greatest finishers ever.
They are by no means the sole batting gems in their teams. While both India and the West Indies have depth in their batting line-ups, only one of the units has performed so far.
Though they’ve been billed as favourites, India have played with fire in the last three games by relying heavily on Kohli despite having such talented individuals as Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and (now injured) Yuvraj Singh in their ranks. It may cause a serious burn in the semi-final should Kohli encounters a rare failure.
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (c), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Evin Lewis.
By Amit Banerjee