Sri Lanka still have a chance of qualifying but they look a shadow of their former selves and England should win this one way or another. However, Eoin Morgan's side are a short price to win and the best bets lie with strong performances from Jeffrey Vandersay and Joe Root in top bowler and top batsman markets.
'We mentioned Vandersay already as a tricky spinner who mixes it up with variations of pace, length and spin. Given England won’t have ever played against him and struggled so much against the spin of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan in their previous match, Vandersay might be the man picking up wickets.'
England v Sri Lanka
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If England's World T20 campaign were a Western, it would be the 'Good, the Bad and the Ugly'. Good in chasing a world record score against South Africa, bad in letting West Indies chase a good total with ease, ugly in a terrible batting collapse against Afghanistan that included star man Joe Root being run out by his best mate Ben Stokes, skipper Eoin Morgan leaving one heading straight to middle stump (and getting bowled) and then allowing Afghan Number 9 batsman Shafiqullah to crack 35 off 20 balls.
But as Ed Hawkins has pointed out, these sort of fluctuating performances are to be expected from England in light of their refreshing all-out attack policy.
Alex Hales will almost certainly return to the side at the expense of James Vince if he recovers from a back injury. Liam Plunkett was extremely economical despite going wicketless and should keep Reece Topley out of the side; Liam Dawson is unlikely to get a game unless the pitch looks like it's really going to turn.
You'd never think this side were the defending champions. But quite simply, they don't have the resources. Excellent though Tillekeratne Dilshan still is, you shouldn't be relying on 39-year old to get you the bulk of your runs. Rangana Herath, at 'just' 38, is another reliable performer but again, you can't expect miracles from a player who made his Test debut when 'Blue' by Eiffel 65 was Number One in the Charts (September 99, in case you're wondering). Even skipper Angelo Matthews, who was brilliant in all formats a couple of years ago, looks out of form. One of the few positives is JDF Vandersay, a legbreak spinner who bowled a wicket maiden against the Windies and finished with an economy rate of 2.75 off four overs.
Venue and First Innings Runs
Delhi was the venue for that narrow England win over Afghanistan. England's 142 was probably about 20 runs short of what it should have been given their top and middle collapse was down to poor batting and decision-making rather than any problems with the pitch. If Sri Lanka bat first they might expect to get about 150; if England get going 170 or more may well be on given their firepower. It's obviously a big advantage to England that they've played there already.
We made the point ahead of Sri Lanka v West Indies that the latter were stronger than the former in all three departments and that made them a straightforward bet on the match odds market at 1.625/8. There's no particularly good reason why England should be shorter at 1.51/2 when a) England lost to the West Indies themselves and b) England were so erratic against Afghanistan. But as we've said already, Sri Lanka can't be trusted either, although they'll probably trade a little shorter than 3.02/1 at some stage. Just to be clear what that means: it means England should win this but can't be said to be value.
Top England Batsman
It's not easy picking an England top batsman market these days given their hell-for-leather approach and flexible batting order. But let's go with a player who will almost certainly get plenty of overs in the middle (he always bats at 3), is the team's leading runscorer by some distance and is the team's classiest act in a team of class acts. Let's go with Joe Root at 4.57/2.
We mentioned Vandersay already as a tricky spinner who mixes it up with variations of pace, length and spin. Given England won't have ever played against him and struggled so much against the spin of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan in their previous match, Vandersay might be the man picking up wickets.
1pt Back Jeffrey Vandersay to be Top Sri Lanka bowler @ 5.04/1 on Betfair Sportsbook 5.04/1 on Betfair Sportsbook ">
0.5 pts Back Joe Root to be Top England batsman @ 4.57/2
Editor P and L: +4.03