Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

England already at must-win stage in World Twenty20

Warming up: Ravi Bopara in the nets in Chittagong

Ravi Bopara insists England cannot rely on complex mathematical equations or favours from elsewhere and must beat Sri Lanka to keep their World Twenty20 hopes alive.

Such is the compressed nature of the tournament that England find themselves firmly in do-or-die territory having played just one match – a controversial defeat to New Zealand that was settled somewhat unsatisfactorily on Duckworth/Lewis.

Strictly speaking they can afford to lose to Sri Lanka today and still retain an outside chance of progressing to the semi-finals, but that would require results to fall kindly elsewhere in Group 1 and for a highly unlikely swing in net run-rates.

As such, it is a state of affairs England have given short shrift in their planning this week.

"I don't think we know about the mathematical side of it: we have to win," said Bopara.

English hearts can hardly have leapt with joy to see Sri Lanka demolish the Netherlands in their previous fixture.

Although heavy favourites to beat the only Associate member to make it as far as the Super 10 stage – after their stunning defeat of Ireland inside 14 overs – few would have predicted the embarrassing scale of their landslide victory.

The Dutch were bundled out for a record low of 39, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis predictably to the fore, before the chase was wrapped up in a perfunctory five overs.

England had gathered in their Chittagong hotel to take in the match, but had to find other plans for most of the evening.

"We were having a team meal in the team room, watching the game, and I've got to say it didn't last very long," added Bopara.

Despite that, there was no sense of fear from the all-rounder about the prospect of facing down the yorker assault of Malinga or the mystery spin of Mendis.

"I didn't expect them to be bowled out for 39 but Sri Lanka are tough customers, especially if you haven't played them before," he said.

"I don't think the Netherlands have played much against Sri Lanka but we've seen a lot of their cricketers, so we'll be a little bit more prepared."

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