T20 World Cup

Hales lauds England 'firepower' ahead of crunch World Cup clash


প্রকাশের তারিখ: 10:18 শুক্রবার, 04 নভেম্বর, 2022

|| AFP ||

A confident England have the "skills and firepower" to beat Sri Lanka and seal a place in the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup, batsman Alex Hales said on Friday.

A highly competitive Group 1 is set to go down to the wire with New Zealand, England and hosts Australia fighting it out to reach the semi-finals.

New Zealand and England currently occupy the top two spots in the group with one round of games left, with holders Australia third and in grave danger because of their vastly inferior net run rate.

Table-toppers New Zealand face Ireland later Friday, followed by Australia against winless Afghanistan.

England, who rescued their World Cup hopes with a 20-run victory over New Zealand, have both a better net run rate than Australia and the advantage of playing a day later.

It means that when they take to the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday against Asian champions Sri Lanka they will know exactly what they need to do to reach 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."

Australia must beat Afghanistan -- and handsomely -- to put pressure on England, but Hales is confident that his side can pile on the runs against an inconsistent Sri Lanka if need be.

"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, recalled to the England set-up after a three-and-a-half-year exile following two failed recreational drug tests, is wary of a "tricky" Sri Lanka "with some handy operators".

"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 made a half-century against last year's beaten finalists New Zealand on Tuesday, admitted that playing a day after Australia was a big 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."