England were back to their best on Tuesday to see off New Zealand and put their T20 World Cup progress in their own hands, with just one more group game remaining.
After beating Afghanistan in their opener, Jos Buttler’s men then fell to a Duckworth-Lewis defeat to Ireland before seeing their match with Australia at the MCG washed out.
The clash with the Black Caps then became a must-win and England delivered, eventually triumphing by 20 runs at the Gabba.
|What||Sri Lanka v England|
|Where||Sydney Cricket Ground|
|When||Saturday, 5th November - 8am|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket|
|Odds||World Cup Outright - India 12/5, England 11/7, New Zealand 7/2|
Tuesday’s win has now put England in a very strong position to make the last four, with a win over Sri Lanka likely to be enough for them to finish in the top-two places in Group 1.
The other remaining Group 1 games are on Friday, with Ireland facing New Zealand in Adelaide at 4am UK time, before Australia and Afghanistan do battle at the same ground.
There is now a strong possibility that the hosts, and defending T20 champions, might crash out at the group stage should both New Zealand and England win their final matches.
Not only will the Aussies have to beat Afghanistan, but they will also have to overturn England's significant net run-rate advantage. Even if they do manage that, Buttler’s men will know what’s needed as they play Sri Lanka a day later.
The head-to-head doesn’t make good reading for Australia either, with New Zealand having won all three previous meetings with Ireland (which were earlier this year) while England have won their last seven T20 encounters against Sri Lanka.
One concern going into the New Zealand match was the form of captain Buttler, but England’s best T20 player was back in the groove.
The wicket-keeper batsman did get dropped twice by the Black Caps but looked back to his swashbuckling best as he smashed an impressive 73 off just 47 balls.
The current 50-over world champions were amongst the favourites to lift the T20 trophy at the start of the tournament, with the victory over Kane Williamson’s men again showing their strength across the board.
There were no thoughts of just seeing how it went on a slower Gabba pitch, England teed off from the start and were not scared to play around with the batting order.
Coach Matthew Mott sent Moeen Ali in at three and then promoted Liam Livingstone up to four, as England looked to keep their foot on the accelerator.
With the ball, seamers Chris Woakes and Sam Curran took two wickets each, while Mark Wood came away with figures of 1-25 in his three overs.
They were three of seven bowlers used by Buttler, with Ben Stokes taking the other scalp as New Zealand finished on 159-6 after England had set them 180 to win.
The 2022 T20 World Cup semi-finals are due to take place on Wednesday 9th November and Thursday 10th November.
If England finish second in Group 1, they will play the nation that finish top of Group 2 - which is likely to be either South Africa or India - at the Adelaide Oval on the 10th November.
Should they finish top of their Stage 12 group, then Buttler’s squad will stay in Sydney to play a last-four encounter at the SCG against the second-placed team in Group 2.
With two games left for the Group 2 sides, back-to-back wins for South Africa - against Pakistan and the Netherlands will see them finish top of the pile.
Any slip-ups from both the Proteas and/or India will offer hope for the chasing trio of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
India face Bangladesh in their latest group game on Wednesday, with Rohit Sharma’s men available at 1/7 while the Tigers can be backed at to cause a upset.
Melbourne’s MCG will play host to the 2022 T20 World Cup final, with the remaining two teams set to battle it out for the trophy on the 13th of November.