Two sides with contrasting fortunes, England will lock horns with Sri Lanka. While England have chased convincingly in their three clashes thus far in the group, with wins over West Indies, Bangladesh and Australia, Sri Lanka have had a tough time. The Islanders have lost two of their three clashes, against Australia and South Africa, which had made qualification slightly tricky for them.
While a win would definitely confirm England as the table-toppers in their group, a win for Sri Lanka will still keep them in the race for a place in the semi-final of the global competition. What to look forward to?
Head to Head
Overall - 12
England - 8 | Sri Lanka – 4
Last 3 Matches
England 3 | Sri Lanka 0
The two teams will clash in Sharjah, a venue that Sri Lanka are well-versed with, winning two out of the three games that they have played at the venue, with their only loss coming against South Africa. On the other hand, it would England’s first contest at the venue but they won’t be too fazed, with Eoin Morgan knowing the conditions well, from his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
What to expect from Sharjah? A venue that was slow and turning in the IPL has turned into a proper venue where there is a contest between the bat and the ball. While the conditions favour the slower bowlers, the shorter boundaries come in as help for the batters. At the venue in this year’s T20 World Cup, the average first innings score has been 135.
At the venue, the pacers have had a slight upper-hand over the spinners, with 56.4% of the total wickets at the venue taken by pacers. The spinners have picked up 34 wickets, at 43.6%, making it one of the most bowler-friendly venues in the competition.
Just like other venues in the Middle East, chasing has been the word on the mouth of winning skippers. Five of the seven games at the venue has been won by sides chasing, which shows how big an impact toss would play in this encounter.
The team we've picked has a good mix of world-class batters and bowlers. But remember, while you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
Wanindu Hasaranga has been one of Sri Lanka’s key players in the competition, possibly their best player in the T20 World Cup this year. Alongside Shakib Al Hasan, Hasaranga has turned the contest with his bowling performances, picking up 11 crucial wickets for the Island nation, averaging 10.5, at an economy rate of 5.3. The all-rounder has also scored 85 runs in this year’s competition, striking the ball at 144.1, showing what he is capable of. Criclytics predicts the all-rounder to score between six and eight runs with the bat and pick 2-3 wickets with the ball.
Since his introduction in the clash against Netherlands, Charith Asalanka has elevated the Sri Lankan batting unit. His last three scores in the competition read 21, 35 and unbeaten 80, showcasing his form with the bat for the Island nation. In fact, the southpaw finds himself leading the charts for batsmen with 40+ average and 140+ strike-rate in the competition, alongside Bhanuka Rajapaksa.
For England, Chris Woakes’ form with the ball has been a key factor for their success. The all-rounder was at his best against Australia, picking up two crucial wickets in the powerplay phase. More importantly, in the first six overs, the Birmingham all-rounder has only conceded three boundaries in the last two years. While he hasn’t yet batted in the competition, he has in the past shown great potential with the bat.
If Woakes has provided England with the perfect start with the ball, it has been Jos Buttler, who has done that role with the bat. Against Australia, Buttler scored the fastest half-century for England in the T20 World Cup, off just 25 balls. With the power-hitting form that he walks in, it would be a herculean task for Sri Lankan bowlers to stop him.
Match-up that will make the contest
While Kusal Perera is enduring a tough form, it is irresponsible to not look at him as a force with the bat at the top of the order for Sri Lanka. But against Adil Rashid, the southpaw has had a tough run of form, scoring just six runs and getting out twice. It would be interesting to see if Morgan introduces Rashid in the powerplay against Perera.
England XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills
Sri Lanka XI: Kusal Perera (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara