Calcutta/Colombo: Australia and West Indies have had a wonderful historic rivalry, though in recent times, it has been Australia who have called the shots.
While West Indies have resembled a house divided until the last few months, Australia have fused science and cricket to a nicety, their climb to the top of the world rankings certainly no accident.
Some of the aura has diminished in the last couple of years, Australia no longer the unstoppable force they used to be across all formats.
Talent has never been an issue with the West Indies. For sheer athleticism and enjoyment of the game, no one comes close to the men from the Caribbean, but the same attribute that has held Australia in excellent stead over the years has been the West Indies’ biggest undoing — discipline.
That they now find themselves in the semi-final of the World T20, where they will take on Australia at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday, is, however, no surprise.
West Indies were anointed favourites by many even before a ball had been bowled, and while they haven’t always played like the team to beat, they have done more than enough to justify the expectations of the cricketing populace — until now, at least.
Standing between them and their first appearance in the final of a global tournament since 2004 is an Australian side that has completely mocked the rankings.
Australia were placed a lowly No. 9 in the World T20 rankings at the start of the competition. they have since moved up to No. 6.
Australia, however, have been heavily dependent on Shane Watson and David Warner.
West Indies will have taken note of Australia’s vulnerability against spin, and the inability of the middle-order to pull their weight when Watson and Warner both fail together.
It obviously doesn’t have the same spinning resources as Pakistan, but Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine can be more than a handful, the former with his sliding leg-spin with the new ball and the latter with his deception and guile that Australia had found largely unfathomable when they toured the West Indies earlier in the year.