cricket20 :: Gayle puts Sri Lanka into bat at the Oval
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Gayle puts Sri Lanka into bat at the Oval

West Indies skipper Chris Gayle won the toss and opted to field first against Sri Lanka in the second semifinal of World T20 at the Oval on Friday.

West Indies made one change for the match at The Oval from the side that beat England on Monday, with Andre Fletcher making way for Xavier Marshall. Fidel Edwards has failed to recover from a back strain, so Darren Sammy keeps his place.

West Indies had a miserable tour of England before the World T20 started. They lost the Test series, they lost the One-dayers and more importantly lost some face as their captain Chris Gayle made some uncharitable remarks against Test cricket. Gayle batted for the cause of Twenty20, emphasising how it was the face of the game's future.

West Indies have emerged as the party-poopers of the tournament while everyone was talking about India, South Africa and Sri Lanka being title favourites.

But Gayle's men played their own brand of attacking and attractive cricket. They have devoured Australia, India and England on their way to the semifinals. The Oval, in fact, is working out to be a lucky ground for the West Indies as they beat Australia and England at this venue.

Sri Lanka, unbeaten at the tournament, have so far played only at Lord's and Trent Bridge, where the pitches are not as quick and bouncy as the surfaces prepared at the Oval.

Sri Lanka beat the West Indies by 15 runs in a group match at Trent Bridge on June 10 with openers Sanath Jayasuriya (81) and Tillekaratne Dilshan (74) sharing a century stand before spinner Ajantha Mendis took two for 25.

Gayle will also be looking to avenge the loss the Windies suffered at the hands of the Lankans in the group stage at Nottingham. For that their batting needs to fire. How their batsmen negotiate Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis will have a huge bearing on the result.

However, unorthodox Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis boldly stated said ahead of semi-final that "no batsman has figured me out yet".


West Indies: Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Denesh Ramdin, Keiron Pollard, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Xavier Marshall, Darren Sammy.

Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.

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