Colombo, Sri Lanka – West Indies will face Australia twice on Friday in the semi-finals of both men’s and women’s competitions of the ICC World T20 2012. This is the first time both West Indies teams have qualified for the Final Four in the same tournament.

West Indies players talk to a member of the groundstaff during a West Indies training session. (Picture courtesy WICB)

Back in 2009 in England the West Indies men reached the semis but the women did not advance. A year later in the Caribbean the women reached the semis but the men went out in the second round.

Both semi-finals will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium will be broadcast “live” on television. The women’s match will be at 2:30 pm (5 am Eastern Caribbean Time/4 am Jamaica Time) while the men’s match will be at the same venue under lights at 7 pm (9:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time/8:30 am Jamaica Time).

The other semi-finals will be played on Thursday, also at the Premadasa. In the women England face New Zealand; while in the men Sri Lanka meet Pakistan.

West Indies men reached the semis after finishing second in Super Eights Group 1 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. They beat England by 15 runs; lost to Sri Lanka by 9 wickets; and they won the One-Over Eliminator against New Zealand after the match ended in a thrilling tie.

West Indies women topped Group B with two wins and one defeat in matches played at the Galle International Stadium. They thumped New Zealand by 7 wickets and hammered South Africa by 10 wickets. In between they suffered a shock defeat by 5 runs (D/L Method) against Sri Lanka.

Both West Indies captains – Darren Sammy and Merissa Aguilleira – are happy to have reached the Final Four but will be looking to make the finals, which are set for Sunday at the Premadasa.

“We are delighted to have reached this stage for the second World T20 tournament in a row. We are feeling quite confident at this stage and believe we can beat the Australians. They are the defending champions but we know we have the players who can win this match and take it all the way,” said Aguilleira, who has been at the helm for three years. “This is what we came here for…this is why we play…to be the very best you have to beat the very best and go all the way.”

Sammy, who took over as captain two years ago, was in the West Indies squad when they lost the semi-finals against Sri Lanka three years ago, and he has called for one big push in the final phase of this tournament.

“This is huge! We have two more hurdles to jump and I know we have the team to do it. When we left home in September the plan was to be here in October. It’s now October and we are still here, so that means we are at the business end…we mean business,” Sammy said. “We will take it stage by stage. We have worked hard to reach this point and with good planning and execution there’s no reason why we can’t go all the way,” Sammy said.

Men: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith

Women: Merissa Aguilleira (captain/wicket-keeper), Stafanie Taylor (vice captain), Shemaine Campbelle, Britney Cooper, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight (wicket-keeper), Anisa Mohammed, Subrina Munroe, Juliana Nero, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt