New Zealand and Australia winning yesterday leaves England knowing exactly what it needs to do here to advance to the semi-finals of the 2022 T20 World Cup. Those results were also the end of Sri Lanka’s chances to qualify out of Group 1 into the knockout phases, with their four points from four games meaning that even a win here won’t allow them to catch either the Aussies or the Black Caps, who both sit on seven points with their five games completed.
Here is a look at the final Group 1 game with odds from BetXchange.
England VS Sri Lanka – SCG, Sydney
It is as simple as winning to move on for England after Australia could not improve its Net Run Rate in its win over Afghanistan. The hosts needed to win by something in the region of 80 runs (at a minimum) to put NRR pressure on England. They were, however, able to win by just four runs, so any England victory will have them qualify in second place behind New Zealand.
England has been a settled side at this tournament – something that has worked to their advantage – and without any new injuries of note, it is expected that Jos Buttler will stick with the same side that beat New Zealand by 20 runs last time out. This means that the knock picked up by all-rounder Liam Livingstone against the Black Caps was not as bad as first feared and that he will be able to take his regular spot in the lineup.
It would be nice to see Ben Stokes break out of his slump. The English bowling has been great, but their batting is a little all over the place.
Calling Sri Lanka a disappointment would be harsh, but a little more was expected from a team coming into this World Cup on the back of an Asia Cup win. They easily dispatched Afghanistan and Ireland in the Super 12s, but they weren’t competitive against New Zealand and Australia. While winning either game would have been a shock, the general thought was that they could have (should have) been much closer in those defeats.
On the plus side, the SCG wicket should allow spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana to do their thing. Hasaragana has been excellent, and the leading wicket-taker at the tournament has the skill and form to cause England problems.
The good news is that this game should go ahead as planned. The weather has been a frustrating issue all tournament, and it would have been disappointing to see the group decided on another washout. Thankfully, the forecast at the SGC is good, so the final standings for Group 1 will be decided on the oval.
England needs to win the toss. They have only won three of their last 11 when chasing a total. If they bat first, then I can see them smashing to a hard-to-reach total, but the spin of Sri Lanka will be a real issue for the English if they have to run down a score.