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Cricket World Cup: England must build on Scotland victory

As things stand in Pool A of the ICC World Cup, England are second-bottom, sandwiched between associate nations Afghanistan and Scotland, following humiliating defeats to co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.

Peter Moores’ men next face Sri Lanka, who they recently lost 5-2 to in an ODI series, but the 2011 runner-ups did also lose comfortably to the Black Caps this tournament. They have also only beaten smaller nations Afghanistan and Bangladesh so far.

Both England and the Lions, therefore, face a nervy stand-off in a bid to finish as high up in the seven-team table as possible to ensure they earn a more favourable quarter-final opponent, if they even get that far. They are both odds-on at 10/11 to win this match.

Captain Eoin Morgan spoke ahead of the game, saying: “Our performances is going to have to be really good and better than anything we have produced at this World Cup so far.

“Sri Lanka look in a good place at the moment. We have played against them a lot recently. I know they rely a lot on their senior players so it is a test for us up against some of the best cricketers, guys who have played 300-400 games. It will be a really good test and challenge the guys are looking forward to.”

Those senior players Morgan was referring to are the likes of legendary Sri Lankan trio Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (both 37-year-old) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) – they have already hit hundreds this World Cup. Back them at 3/1, 4/1 and 7/2 respectively to be best batsman for their team.

Just one player for England, meanwhile, has scored a century so far, Moeen Ali. Although he showed great skill and versatility throughout his innings, it came against minnows Scotland, and he knows he needs to carry on that form against tougher opposition in Wellington. He is 4/1 to be best England batsman again.

James Taylor has also had an impressive hit this tournament, as he got an unbeaten 98 against the Aussies, and he is 13/2 in the same market.

If England lose, they know they’ll be up against it to qualify for the quarters, but thankfully have a more favourable final two fixtures against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.