In the T20 World Cup, a red-hot England are locked in a three-way battle for a spot in the semi-finals, but captain Jos Buttler will have the advantage of knowing exactly what his team needs to achieve in their final group encounter against Sri Lanka.
Although all three teams are tied for first place on points with one match remaining, the 2010 winners are sandwiched between New Zealand and Australia, the two teams who competed in last year’s final.
Butler will know exactly what victory margin is necessary to make the last four with a top-two finish in the group once Australia and New Zealand conclude their Super 12 campaigns on Saturday.
England’s starting batsman Alex Hales said at a press conference on Friday, “I believe that does play to our benefit. See what happens today, and then we can adapt to whatever tomorrow requires.”
To paraphrase, “I guess we’re very sure that whatever we need to do, we’ve got the expertise and firepower to execute it.”
England appeared to be in their element during the 20-run triumph against New Zealand, led by Buttler, after being shocked by Ireland in a rain-hit Super 12 match.
Hales said their net run rate looked “very good,” and he is optimistic that England will advance to the semifinals.
It’s a tough competition to break through, he admitted.
In what I consider to be a rather difficult group, “it would be a good achievement if we can get through.”
Both Hales and Buttler scored half century against New Zealand, a welcome sight after a rough tournament for openers.
Favorites against Sri Lanka, who would need two upset wins to make the semi-finals (against England and against Afghanistan, who recently defeated defending champions Australia), England boasts a robust batting lineup and a plenty of all-rounders.
Batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa claimed that the Asia Cup champions, under by former England coach Chris Silverwood, just want to finish well.
Unfortunately, not all of the results have gone our way, but tomorrow’s game is pretty crucial to end on a positive note, according to the 31-year-old.
“All we want to do is play some terrific cricket and prove that we belong in Australia.”