Sharjah: Sri Lanka should be wary of a marauding England when they square off in Sharjah for a Group 1 game on Monday. England’s demolition of Australia on Saturday was more evidence of why they are one of the favourites to win the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
With three comprehensive wins, Eoin Morgan-led England have been the most dominant side. Much of the dominance comes from an aggressive brand of cricket. Openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler are a destructive pair, and that attacking style runs all the way down to No 8, where Moeen Ali awaits.
England is a bowling house too. They walloped Australia without Ali getting a bowl, and he’s been their best bowler. He didn’t have to turn his arm over as the speedsters had a field day. Chris Woakes continues to be incisive in the powerplay, and Chris Jordan too has run into form. Tyman Mills has been expensive, but his left-arm pace provides variety, and he is excellent in the slog overs.
Liam Livingstone has been among the wickets with his part-time spin, a blend of off-break and leg-breaks. Leggie Adil Rashid is yet to find his wicket-taking form, but Ali’s show makes up for it.
So that’s the challenge facing Sri Lanka, who would be crestfallen after the last-over loss to South Africa. They had lost to Australia, and the only win came against Bangladesh.
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Sri Lanka are in a rebuilding phase. Pathum Nissanka, Kushal Perera, Charith Asalanka and Bhanuth Rajapaksa are a good set of batsmen who could benefit from more international exposure. But there hasn’t been a concerted effort in this tournament. Only one of them seemed to score in a match, which has undermined the bowlers’ prospects.
But the bowling hasn’t been strong enough. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has been a persistent threat to the opposition, and Maheesh Theekshana’s off-breaks have been effective in some matches. And the seamers haven’t been consistent enough to impact the games.
So they don’t have a chance against England. Morgan’s side should even if they have an off-day.