Sri Lanka notched up convincing victories against the Netherlands and South Africa in their last two matches to sit at the top of the table (Getty Images)
Chittagong: Their campaign opener against New Zealand spoilt by rain, 2010 champions England face a difficult task of taming table-toppers Sri Lanka to keep their semi-final hopes alive in the ICC World Twenty20 here on Thursday. England were left ruing the weather after their effort of posting 172/6 went in vain and they lost by nine runs to New Zealand via Duckworth-Lewis method last Saturday.
In fact, England players were left disappointed following the umpires' decision to keep the teams on the field even though lightning and thunder claps had started early in the fifth over during New Zealand's run chase at the ZACS Stadium. After the match, skipper Stuart Broad minced no words and his criticism of the umpires' decision prompted the ICC to fine 15 per cent of his match fee.
However, all these are in the past now and England will have to put the disappointment behind and focus on a strategy to outwit Sri Lanka, who have been simply unstoppable in the tournament so far. Dinesh Chandimal's men notched up convincing victories against the Netherlands and South Africa in their last two matches to sit at the top of the table with four points and they would look for an encore against.
For England, the months leading up to the tournament have been marked by an embarrassing loss to Australia in the Ashes and Broad's men will have to play out of their skin to salvage any hope of a turnaround in their fortune in the tournament.
England, however, have reasons to feel confident as most of their top and middle-order batsmen clicked in the last match with Moeen Ali and Michael Lumb sharing a 72-run stand for the second wicket and Jos Buttler and Ravi Bopara too chipping in with cameos to power the team to 172 for six.
However, their bowling has not been tested as they could bowl only five overs against New Zealand.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have no such concerns. Medium pacer Angelo Methews and spinner Ajanta Mendis have taken four wickets each, while Lasith Malinga have three scalps to his name in the tournament so far.
It was their bowlers, who first successfully defended their total of 165 against South Africa and then run through the Netherlands, dismissing them for just 39 at the same venue last Monday and Chandimal will expect his bowlers to continue their good show on Thursady.
The Teams (from):
England: Stuart Broad (capt.), Michael Lumb, Alex Hales, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler (wk), Ravi Bopara, Chris Jordan, Tim Bresnan, James Tredwell, Jade Dernbach.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt.), Kushal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajanta Mendis, Lasith Malinga.