England-Lanka faceoff in do-or-die World Cup encounter

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England are back in action, and they take on Sri Lanka in a do-or-die encounter at the iconic Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

Suerly, England cannot be playing quite the opposite to their brand of attacking cricket, and that’s what has been a bit of a nemesis, Vice-Captain Moeen Ali admitted to this news agency at a pre-match press conference.

Everyone, including Moeen knows it really is a very difficult task on the hands to win all the remaining games, but it is certainly not impossible. West Indies did it in 1975 and 1979, while Australia did it thrice in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

But, alas England have been doing badly to defend their title. So far, they have lost three matches out of the four they have played in the tournament.

Against South Africa, England were brutally outperformed by getting a 229-run thrashing on Saturday.

Rubbing salt to their wounds further was Afghanistan’s resounding victory against Pakistan on Monday that plunged England to the bottom of the points table.

Their batsmen and bowlers have not been firing all cylinders, with Dawid Malan alone getting a century against Bangladesh, and their bowler Mark Wood astonishingly tops batting averages.

Reece Topley has been the bright spot with 8 wickets in his kitty with the bowling average of 22.87, but has been ruled out of the tournament due to a broken finger.

Brydon Carse has been replaced with Topley, but it is too early to expect him to be included to play tomorrow’s match, though he has taken 14 wickets in 12 ODIs to date. Probably, England could bank on Adil Rashid and Gus Atkinson to fill the gap.

As of now, everything is going against England, and it would be great if their top order, especially Johnny Bairstow fires and their bowlers come out good and defeat Sri Lanka to end their misery. A defeat would almost knock them out of the tournament, and a win would refurbish their tanking spirits, but only just.

Wickets at Chinnaswamy should favour their batsmen, and Malan, Joe Root and Harry Brook seem to be just talking with their bats. But the likes of Jos Buttler, Bairstow, and Harry Brook need to fire.

Ben Stokes’ failure against South Africa might turn him on, and he is as dangerous as any batsman in the world.

If it comes through, then most England fans will be off their chairs on their feets in joy.

Sri Lanka also is sailing in the same boat as England. They are facing injuries and their bowlers have leaked heavily, and it goes without saying that they are just perched a notch above England on the points table.

Sri Lanka got the nod for veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews in place of the injured pacer Matheesha Pathirana. He may straightaway get into the team and see himself in the role of a middle order batsman.

Chamika Karunaratne looks the likely candidate also to get a game.

Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis have got over 200 plus runs and Dilshan Madushanka has been the best bowler for Sri Lanka and has picked up 11 wickets while bowling at an average of 21 and an economy rate of 6.13.

Squads

England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Kusal Mendis (vc), Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka

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