Cricket NewsAlex Hales, a batsman for England, asserted that his team has the...

    Alex Hales, a batsman for England, asserted that his team has the “skills and firepower” to defeat Sri Lanka and go to the Twenty20 World Cup semifinals.


    Alex Hales, a batsman for England, asserted on Friday that his team had the “talent and firepower” to defeat Sri Lanka and guarantee a spot in the Twenty20 World Cup semifinals. The battle to advance to the semifinals in Group 1 between New Zealand, England, and the host nation Australia is expected to be fiercely difficult. With one set of games remaining in the group, New Zealand and England are now in the top two positions, with holders Australia in third place and in serious danger due to their significantly lower net run rate. Later on Friday, table-toppers New Zealand take on Ireland, and then Australia takes on winless Afghanistan.

    With a 20-run victory over New Zealand, England restored their World Cup ambitions. They also have the advantage of playing a day later and a higher net run rate than Australia. As a result, they will go into Saturday’s match against Sri Lanka, the defending Asian champion, knowing exactly what they must do to advance to the last four. “Obviously a great win against New Zealand in a really tight game and a tight contest, hopefully should set us up for the rest of the tournament,” said top-order batsman Hales. “We enjoyed a nice day off yesterday and training hard today. Everyone’s feeling confident and looking forward to tomorrow.”

    To put pressure on England, Australia must defeat Afghanistan handily. However, Hales is convinced that his team can score plenty of runs against an unpredictable Sri Lanka if necessary. “It all comes naturally to us, especially with the layout of our squad, playing an extra batter, the middle order is so strong. “It’s a very confident batting unit so we’ll be able to adapt to whatever tomorrow needs.” Hales is wary of a “tricky” Sri Lanka “with some slick operators” after returning to the England squad after a three-and-a-half-year exile following two failed recreational drug tests.

    “So we are going to have to play our best cricket to win, but as I said, we are pretty confident, the mood is good in the camp and we feel like we can deal with anything they throw at us,” he said. Hales, who scored 50 runs on Tuesday against New Zealand, one of last year’s runner-ups, acknowledged that playing a day after Australia was a significant advantage. “See what happens today and then we can adapt to whatever tomorrow requires,” the 33-year-old said. “I guess we’re pretty confident that whatever we need to do, we’ve got the skills and firepower to do it.”


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