England claimed a vital victory over New Zealand on Tuesday and a win against Sri Lanka should seal their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals.
After their shock defeat to Ireland in Group 1, England's crunch clash with Australia was rained off but they produced an impressive all-round display to beat the Kiwis by 20 runs in Brisbane and are hot favourites to see off the Sri Lankans in Sydney on Saturday.
|What:||Sri Lanka vs England, T20 World Cup|
|Where:||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia|
|When:||08:00, Saturday 5th November|
|How to watch:||bet365 Sports Live Streaming and Sky Sports Cricket|
|Odds:||Sri Lanka 10/3, England|
England have steadied the ship following their rain-affected defeat to underdogs Ireland and they are 2/9 to finish the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup with a victory against shots Sri Lanka.
However, Jos Buttler's men will be taking nothing for granted against a dangerous Sri Lanka side who won the Asia Cup in September and kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the last four with a clinical six-wicket victory over Afghanistan.
The Lankans hammered Ireland by nine wickets in their Group 1 opener and had Australia in a spot of bother in their second game before Marcus Stoinis thrashed a 17-ball half-century.
They also let New Zealand off the hook after a brilliant new-ball display left the Black Caps wobbling at 15-3 as Glenn Phillips' century powered the Kiwis to 167-7 and Sri Lanka's top order collapsed to 24-5 after just 6.1 overs of their run-chase.
Their problems against the New Zealand pace bowlers should encourage England's quicks. Sam Curran is having an outstanding tournament, claiming nine wickets in three games including 5-10 against Afghanistan and the key scalps of Phillips and Finn Allen against New Zealand.
Curran is 3/1 to be England's top team bowler on Saturday while shot Mark Wood is also in great rhythm, bowling the fastest delivery of the tournament – clocked at 155 kilometres per hour – to New Zealand's Phillips on Tuesday.
England's openers Buttler and Alex Hales were dismissed for nought and seven in the defeat to Ireland but they bounced back with scores of 73 and 52 in the win over New Zealand.
The top two are likely to face a trial by spin in the Powerplay overs against Sri Lanka and Buttler, the leading run-scorer in the 2022 Indian Premier League, may cope with it better than Hales.
Ace Sri Lanka spinner Wanindu Hasaranga troubled England's batsmen in that game, finishing with figures of 3-21 from four overs although it is worth noting that none of his three victims – Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan – are in the squad for this tournament.
If Sri Lanka are to cause an upset in Sydney then they may need a big performance from Dhananjaya de Silva, who is to be their top batsman after a classy unbeaten 66 in Tuesday's win over Afghanistan.
De Silva, batting at number three, took charge of the run-chase with an excellent innings to win a match in which no other player reached 30.
He started the Super 12 stage with scores of 31 against Ireland and 26 against Australia and has taken a wicket in each of Sri Lanka's four Group 1 matches so the that he is named player of the match is also worth considering.
Another all-rounder hoping to make an impact in the Group 1 finale is England's Ben Stokes, who has failed to fire with the bat since landing in Australia.
The left-hander made scores of nine, seven and 17 not out in the pre-World Cup T20 series against the Aussies and was dismissed for two, six and eight in his first three innings of the tournament.