If the West Indies have proved one thing on the last leg of their lengthy tour of England, it's that Twenty20 is certainly their preferred format. No other code would afford coach John Dyson's team the chance to beat the Aussies, the Indians and the English in the space of two weeks and temporarily rise to the fore of a game that has scorned their inconsistent ineptitude for the past three years.
Captain Chris Gayle's men are now within two wins of some serious silverware and arguably the respect they - or at least the veterans that have been there through thick and thin - deserve. It's no secret that Gayle is of the thought that his troops are on the up in T20 due to the short nature of the game and along with it no need for long periods of concentration.
Youngsters Andre Fletcher, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard and the like would sill be wallowing in international obscurity were it not for extravaganzas like the Stanford Super Series and the World Twenty20, but instead find themselves faced with the biggest challenge of their careers thus far: operation beat Sri Lanka.
How they'll do this will, no doubt, be an affair witnessed before: bang it over the ropes if Gayle, etc don't. However, it's going to take more than mindless hitting to get the better of a bowling attack fronted by the owner of the most lethal yorker in world cricket - Lasith Malinga - and The Murali And Mendis Show. Ramnaresh Sarwan, et al know this, but whether their words of wisdom fall on deaf ears or not is entirely up to the Windies' new school.
While Fidel Edwards remains an injury doubt, Darren Sammy isn't too shoddy a replacement should the star speedster not crack good fitness in time for the first ball of the match. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya took Edwards to the cleaners at Trent Bridge recently and perhaps Sammy's slower approach is a better bet against a couple of kingpins keen on the ball coming onto the bat.
Meanwhile, the Lankans will be keen to shake off their wobble against Ireland and assert the dominance they displayed against the Black Caps in the Super Eights stage. Isuru Udana, for me, has been their find of the tour and Farveez Maharoof has every right to ponder his future in the T20 fold. Udana possesses so much more variety than the one-dimensional seamer and provides the perfect foil to the pace-spin spectrum availed by Malinga and Muralitharan.
Which Sanath Jayasuriya rocks up on the day remains to be seen. The opener's inconsistency grows by the innings and Dilshan's rise up the order is testament to team management's wish for a worthy successor come the master blaster's eventual retirement.
For entertainment's sake, one hopes that Jayasuriya, Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene don't fail, but it'll be interesting to see Chamara Silva and Jehan Mubarak availed the chance to come to the party in a pressure match. The same can be said for Mathews, who would do well to graduate from bit-part squad member to respected all-rounder with a fine showing at The Oval.
Ultimately though, it's the undeniable entity of Muralitharan and Mendis that are going to have the biggest say on the outcome of the second semi-final. In the dynamic two Sri Lanka own arguably the only bowling duo that can sign, seal and deliver a result in the small space of 24 deliveries apiece and it's this that poses the biggest threat to the Windies.
Sri Lanka: No longer that bloke who bats at six and turns his arm over a bit, Tillakaratne Dilshan has reinvented his role in the Sri Lanka set-up with audacious batting at the top of the order. Picking up where he left off in the Indian Premier League, the innovative right-hander has had a swashbuckling World Twenty20 and will be key to his team's bid for a berth in the final.
West Indies: There was no doubt Dwayne Bravo's return to the Windies fold would bring a much-needed injection of enthusiasm across the codes. His batting, bowling and fielding have proved exemplary throughout the tourney thus far and the semi-final should prove no different as his side look to their prized all-rounder with high expectation.
The West Indies batsmen were found wanting against Sri Lanka's spin attack in their Group C clash earlier in the tournament and I fancy it'll be more of the same come Friday's encounter, thus handing Murali and Mendis an outing at Lord's on Sunday.
beat Australia by six wickets at Trent Bridge
beat West Indies by 15 runs at Trent Bridge
beat Pakistan by 19 runs at Lord's
beat Ireland by nine runs at Lord's
beat New Zealand by 48 runs at Trent Bridge
beat Australia by seven wickets at The Oval
lost to Sri Lanka by 15 runs at Trent Bridge
beat India by seven wickets at Lord's
lost to South Africa by 20 runs at The Oval
beat England by five wickets at The Oval
"Our side has, from the very inception, been one unit. We have played cricket with and against each other since we were 12 and 13. Everyone lives in and around Colombo, we see each other both on and off the field almost every single day so it's very easy for us to gel and bond. We have no egos, they are just absolutely lovely guys who are keen on playing good cricket, so that's really helped the team." - Kumar Sangakkara sees family-esque unity as a great advantage.
"They are a very good attacking team. Whenever one of them doesn't click someone else steps up, which is good in a team. They have some quality players at the top of the order and any one of them can be dangerous. Whatever total they get on the board they seem to have the bowling attack to defend it." - Chris Gayle seems a touch too focused on the opposition's strengths than that of his own charges.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chamara Silva, Kumar Sangakkara (cpt, wkt), Mahela Jayawardene, Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.
West Indies: Chris Gayle (cpt), Andre Fletcher, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Denesh Ramdin (wkt), Darren Sammy/Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Suliemann Benn.
Jonhenry Wilson at The Oval