If England wanted to end a winter of discontent with success in the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh, and had a choice of opposition to pick, Sri Lanka, ranked No. 1 in T20s, would be the last one on the list. Yet, this is exactly who its up against in the bid to make it to the final four of the tournament.
In the last 20 games across all formats, England has managed just 4 wins, racking up 16 losses. But England’s style of play is certainly more suited to the skiddy Chittagong pitches than the slower turners on offer in Mirpur. Here is a look at some of the facts and key battles ahead of the all-important clash between Si Lanka and England.
England have lost three of their four T20Is against Sri Lanka. This is their worst win percentage against any team they have played more than once.
Mahela Jayawardene (1,355), Tillakaratne Dilshan (1,332) and Kumar Sangakkara (1,325) are the second, third and fourth highest T20I run-scorers respectively.
Against Netherlands Ajantha Mendis (3-12) took more than one wicket in a T20I for the first time in 11 matches – the previous occasion was in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 final (4-12 against West Indies).
Of the 11 teams Ajantha Mendis has played against, England are the only team that he has failed to take a wicket against (0-59 from eight overs).
Sri Lanka are attempting to equal their best winning streak in T20Is – they won six consecutive matches on their way to reaching the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 final.
Eoin Morgan needs six runs to become the second player after Kevin Pietersen to score 1,000 T20I runs for England.
Stuart Broad is in line to become the ninth player to lead his team 25 times in T20Is and the second to do so for England after Paul Collingwood.
Kumar Sangakkara needs one stumping to become the second player after Kamran Akmal to take 20 T20I stumpings.
Michael Lumb v Ajantha Mendis
Michael Lumb was introduced to the England set-up at the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 and played his part in helping his team to the trophy. He is now displaying the best form of his career, having hit his highest T20I score (63) in England’s only T20I win of 2014, against West Indies at Bridgetown.
Since the start of 2013 only Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch have scored a higher percentage of T20I runs in boundaries (100+ balls faced) and the Nottinghamshire left-hander is the man most likely to give England’s innings impetus.
A strong start is crucial, as England continue to struggle against high quality spin in the middle overs. Ajantha Mendis certainly fits in that category, showcasing his box of tricks to great effect against Netherlands. Only compatriot Lasith Malinga has more ICC World Twenty20 wickets, but Mendis’ overall figures in the tournament are more impressive – his 35 wickets have come at a strike rate of 12.7 and economy rate of 6.36.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)