ndia have played 15 Twenty20 internationals this year, winning 13. West Indies have played four, each of them in the ICC World Twenty20. As far as preparation, form and home advantage go, the odds are stacked in India's way, so much so that Chris Gayle has admitted that West Indies will need to produce "an upset" to upend a T20I hot streak that has seen MS Dhoni's team beat Australia four times, Pakistan twice in excruciatingly tense chases and down Bangladesh to lift the Asia Cup title.
India were dubbed pre-tournament favourites, and following the surprise loss to New Zealand - they were bowled out for their lowest total, 79 - have strung together three consecutive wins to become the final team to make the semi-finals. Two of those, against Bangladesh and Australia, were sapping matches in which India's bowling and batting were tested to the limit. Well almost, in the case of the must-win Australia game, which in the end they won with six balls left thanks to the best T20I innings by an Indian ever. Once again, the focus will be on Virat Kohli, who in 2016 is batting like a man apart from all others in this format. Getting Kohli cheaply will be the biggest chance West Indies can have to win on Thursday at the Wankedhe Stadium.
West Indies enter the semi-final after a few days off following the loss to Afghanistan, which Darren Sammy termed 'a blip'. According to Gayle, Sunday's defeat was good in that it was the "bad game" they needed to get out of the way. It is in T20Is that West Indies give themselves the best chance of success, and a side that beat England, Sri Lanka and South Africa to make it to the final four cannot be taken lightly by any regard; particularly when the first name on the sheet is Gayle.