Lanka aim to keep survival hopes afloat against sublime England - GulfToday

Lanka aim to keep survival hopes afloat against sublime England

Moeen-Ali

England’s Moeen Ali (left) and Joe Root attend a training session on Thursday, ahead of their Friday’s match against Sri Lanka. Agence France-Presse

With just four points from five games, Sri Lanka will aim for an improbable victory and survive in the ongoing World Cup when they take on hot favourites England at Headingley on Friday.

The 1996 champions have managed to win just one game so far, that too against Afghanistan in what was a tense battle for them. The other two points that they have in their kitty are because of the washouts against Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In their last game against Australia, Sri Lanka suffered a 87-run loss at the Kennington Oval in London and therefore, it would need an extraordinary performance from Dimuth Karunaratne’s men to get past an in-form English side.

England, led by Eoin Morgan, have been in sublime form, especially with the bat as they posted 300 plus scores in four of the five games -- two of them being 386/6 against Bangladesh and 397/6 against Afghanistan.

Four English batsmen -- Joe Root (367), Eoin Morgan (249), Jonny Bairstow (218) and Jason Roy (215) -- are among the 10 highest-scoring batsmen in the ongoing tournament so far.

In their last match against Afghanistan, even though England were without their opener Roy, they still managed to post a humongous total of 397/6, courtesy Morgan, who brought the crowd to his feet during his 71-ball knock of 148, which included a record 17 sixes.

Thus, it would require Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep to deliver an out of the box performance to stop the England batters from going berserk in Leeds.

Another thing which Sri Lanka need to be wary of is the middle-order collapse that they have suffered on quite a few occasions in the ongoing tournament. They will have to make sure that they get a good start and build on that, instead of throwing it away and handing over the advantage to their opposition.

Meanwhile, Moeen Ali has said he will always cherish being part of England’s one-day revolution ahead of what could be his 100th one-day international appearance against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Moeen, 32, has played a key role in England’s rise to the top of the ODI rankings after they crashed out of the 2015 World Cup in the first round.

“It obviously means a lot,” said Moeen, a left-handed batsman who bowls off-spin.

“To play 100 ODI games for England is obviously a dream. It’s just being part of the team, being part of the change.

“Looking back, if I was to retire I’d always be able to say I was part of that change, the whole mindset changing and the great cricket we’ve played.”

Coming in at number seven in England’s last game against Afghanistan, Moeen smashed 31 off just nine balls to give the side fresh impetus after Morgan blasted a record 17 sixes in his breathtaking 148.

Moeen, who made his ODI debut in 2014, said batting down the order was not easy but was an important role.

“Seven is not an easy position in my opinion,” he said.

“You’re dictated to by the pace of the game and you have to try to get quick runs which doesn’t always happen.

“Top players like Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes find it hard as well. I once heard from a great player that if you come off three times in 10 you’ve done really well but if you come off make sure it’s properly.”

The fancied sides at the World Cup are laying down a powerful marker but Moeen said there was still room for upsets.

England, finalists in 1979, 1987 and 1992, have never won the 50-over World Cup but Moeen said that they are hoping for glory on home turf.

“As a team we know that a trophy matters for us. Hopefully this is it,” he said.

Agencies

Squads:

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Dhananjaya de Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

England:Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes,James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.