West Indies and England have won their semi-final games against India and New Zealand respectively and will meet in the final on Sunday.
The West Indies v. India game today was a real nail-biter. India batted first and scored 192/2 in their 20 overs and this would normally have been a winning score but this tournament has seen teams successfully chasing extremely difficult targets and West Indies engineered a masterful chase, despite losing their star batter Chris Gayle in the second over. Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell engaged in some serious hitting late in the innings and they reached 196/3 with just two balls remaining.
In the final over, WI had to make seven runs off the last four balls and after Russell hit a four off the third ball, they had to get three runs off the last three balls. This would seem to be easy but recall that when Bangladesh had to get just two runs off the last three balls to beat India, which would have given them a historic win and threatened to keep India out of qualifying for the semi-finals, they lost three consecutive wickets instead. But West Indies proved to be of sterner stuff and Russell hit a mighty six off the fourth ball to end the game and continue their demonstration of skill at this the shortest form of the game.
The other semifinal game yesterday was not nearly as dramatic. Batting first New Zealand scored just 153/8, not a big score in this tournament but defensible. It would have been disappointing to them since they reached 89/1 off the first ten overs and given that, should have been able to post a score much closer to 200. England chased down that score without much difficulty, reaching 159/3 off just 17.1 overs
I must say that I am surprised by England’s success so far. They are not known for being particularly good at the limited overs format but here they have excelled. The high point was their group game against South Africa. South Africa batted first and scored an incredible 229/4, a winning score if I ever saw one. But astonishingly, England beat that score with two balls to spare.
So the final on Sunday will see two teams who are adept at chasing down high scores to win. It would suggest that the team that wins the toss will choose to field first.
I will be hoping for West Indies to win.