The first semi-final has also been decided and Sri Lanka will now take on New Zealand in the game to be played at the R Premadasa in Colombo.
On paper, Sri Lanka should win this on a canter. Much like how South Africa should have defeated the New Zealanders as well but went down in a heap. This essentially means that anything can happen in a game like this and so, one can be rest assured that predicting winners like this will be an exercise in futility.
So far in this tournament, R Premadasa has not really lived up to its reputation of the team winning the toss, batting first and then going on to win the game. That has been, however, due to the fact that the teams batting first have not batted as well as the sides need to put pressure on the fielding team. New Zealand will still look to win and toss and if they can survive the first few overs, they would have evened things up.
If Sri Lanka bat first, New Zealand can kiss their chances goodbye.
The openers for both the sides are going to be crucial here. Dilshan and Tharanga have already had a couple of double century stands in the tournament and will look to build on that momentum. On the other hand, New Zealand have looked wobbly at the start despite the couple of ten-wicket wins in the tournament. It could well be a case of which pair of openers does better than the other to win it for the side.
There cannot be much doubt that the Kiwis will have to play a plethora of spinners in the game, especially given that the Sri Lankan strategy has been to go into the game with three of them, apart from Dilshan being the fourth one. This tactic will not change in this game and New Zealand will need to look at making the move against the slower bowlers.
New Zealand will themselves look at having at least two spinners, but one gets the sense that the third spinner in Luke Woodcock could make way for a quicker bowler, whom the Sri Lankan side would find difficult to play in the circumstances.
Overall, if the New Zealand side needs to win the game, they will need to bat well at the start of the innings and field as well as they can.