England’s path to World Cup glory looking ominously-bright
The expectation that comes with being a hosting nation in a World Cup is huge, England has certainly done their country proud so far with a spot in the semi-finals almost a near-certainty. Crushing a stunned-Afghanistan by 150 runs at Old Trafford has given them the best net run rate in this year’s ICC World Cup, meanwhile a worried Sri Lanka are sitting back with a worried look on their faces. This is a team that is nowhere near World Cup contention, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to picking Sri Lanka’s best XI. The decision to dump some under-performing senior players ahead of the tournament has backfired, now it’s just a matter of playing out their fixtures.
England is one win away from playing in a World Cup semi-final, if Australia defeats Bangladesh later today it’s going to make it almost-impossible for the remaining six teams to break into the top four in the standings. Right now England may not be concerned about these sorts of probabilities given how well the team is playing, a minor-speed bump against Pakistan has been the only slip up they’ve made in an otherwise-impressive tournament. Skipper Eoin Morgan was the latest individual to enter the record books in ODI cricket as he dispatched a whopping-17 sixes into the Old Trafford crowd. Morgan’s out-of-control 148 came off just 71 deliveries, that’s a strike rate of 208.45! Initially Morgan was in-doubt after experiencing back spasms against the West Indies, the same game that Jason Roy injured his hamstring. The English captain’s spike in form has come at the right time, Roy was ruled out for the next two matches after the Windies win which has left them one power-hitter down. Sri Lanka’s bowlers are expected to struggle against such an aggressive batting unit, maybe an additional specialist spinner might be the best option.
It’s not a great time to come up against England, Joe Root is in fine-form with the willow at No. 3 and both Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan look as if they’re starting to find their feet in the tournament. On top of that, there’s a line of three six-hitting specialists in the form of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali. These two teams couldn’t be anymore opposite in the batting department, especially when you compare both teams form guides. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera are doing all the heavy lifting at the top, the rest of the batting unit has been shambolic. Leading from the front, Karunaratne is averaging just over 89 in this World Cup while the so-called inconsistent Perera is batting with a 50+ average. Names like Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Mendis have barely been sighted, meanwhile veteran Angelo Mathews has easily been the most disappointing with just 9 runs from his three outings. If this trend continues at Headingley, England’s bowlers could feast on a confidence-sapped Sri Lanka. Jofra Archer is currently England’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 12 wickets.
Top 5 fantasy picks – England
- Jofra Archer
- Joe Root
- Jonny Bairstow
- Mark Wood
- Eoin Morgan
Wildcard pick – Ben Stokes
Top 5 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka
- Kusal Perera
- Dimuth Karunaratne
- Isuru Udana
- Lasith Malinga
- Thisara Perera
Wildcard pick – Kusal Mendis
Predicted Team XI’s
England (possible) – 1. James Vince 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Joe Root 4. Eoin Morgan (c) 5. Jos Buttler (wk) 6. Ben Stokes 7. Moeen Ali 8. Chris Woakes/Liam Plunkett 9. Jofra Archer 10. Adil Rashid 11. Mark Wood.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne (c) 2. Kusal Perera (wk) 3. Lahiru Thirimanne/Avishka Fernando 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Milinda Siriwardana/Jeevan Mendis 7. Dhananjaya de Silva 8. Thisara Perera 9. Isuru Udana 10. Nuwan Pradeep/Suranga Lakmal 11. Lasith Malinga.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.