Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 26th 2015 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 26, 2015
England s bid to reach the World Cup quarter-
finals is likely to rest on their next two group games
during which all-rounder Moeen Ali is confident
they can prove they are a "major side."
After belatedly getting off the mark with a 119-
run win over Scotland on Monday---when Moeen hit
a century---England can all but confirm their place
in the knock-out stage with wins over Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh over the next fortnight.
Such is the format of the tournament that victory
in one of those games might still be enough---provided
Afghanistan are beaten in England s final group
game---but after their terrible start Moeen is targeting
a run of wins.
"We are going out to win the next two," he said.
"That s a very important game (Sri Lanka), if we
can win that it will give the team a lot more confidence
of being a very good one-day side and a major side
in the competition."
England have not claimed back-to-back successes
since arriving in the Antipodes and Sunday s clash
with Sri Lanka in Wellington---the same venue as
their Black Caps mauling---offers a chance to step
up a gear.
While victory over Scotland offered as welcomed
relief it hardly kept the critics at bay against a nation
still searching for a first World Cup win in their third
visit to the tournament.
Moeen does not believe, however, that England
should feel as though they still have a point to prove.
"I don t feel we are going to have to back it up
against Sri Lanka because it was Scotland. We would
have to do that anyway," he said.
"Yes, it was Scotland but it was an international
game or World Cup game. That brings different pres-
"If it was Scotland at home, maybe, but this was
a very important game with a lot of pressure. We
had to go out and perform.
"We saw Scotland gave New Zealand a decent
game---there are lots of dangerous sides and these
teams are not as easy as they used to be."
England lost their pre-Christmas one-day inter-
national series in Sri Lanka 5-2, but have reason to
think they can beat them in New Zealand condi-
After being overwhelmed by the Black Caps in
their recent ODI series in the same conditions, Sri
Lanka have made a stuttering start to the World Cup.
They were easily cast aside by New Zealand in their
opener before sneaking past Afghanistan last time
Moeen knows England can ill afford to underes-
timate a team including the likes of world-class
talents such as Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawar-
dene and Angelo Mathews, but suspects keeping
them quiet with the bat will be critical.
"Obviously we lost to them in Sri Lanka. We know
a lot about them now having played against them
quite a bit last year," he said.
"They have some really good batters and that will
be the key, their four main batters, (Tillakaratne) Dil-
shan, Sangakkara, Mahela and Mathews.
"We saw the other day Mahela is in good form so
we are going to have to bowl really well and obviously
bat well against them. It will be a close game, a tight
game so we will have to be at our best to beat them."
Moeen will have a key part to play with the ball
in Wellington with his handy off-spin as England s
option as a fifth bowler.
He claimed two wickets against Scotland in
Christchurch, but is still to reveal his full repertoire
with his doosra so far kept in cotton wool.
The 27-year-old has been practising it in the nets,
but he is not yet ready to unveil it again in competitive
"No, not really," he said.
"I bowled a couple in the nets the previous day
just at Ravi (Bopara) because he was trying to smash
it, but I have not really thought about it."
MELBOURNE---Sri Lanka captain Angelo
Matthews acknowledges his team must
improve if it wants to reach its seventh-
straight Cricket World Cup quarterfinal,
and faces a familiar foe in Bangladesh today
(started last night TT) as it attempts to
rediscover its form.
The 1996 World Cup champion---and
runner-up in the two previous tourna-
ments---lost the tournament opener by 98
runs to New Zealand and looked uncon-
vincing in a four-wicket win over newcomer
Afghanistan, despite another century from
veteran Mahela Jayawardene.
"We ve got to win games and the last
game was a close one, but a win is a win,"
Matthews said Wednesday. "We ll take that
win, but I think we need to improve our
standards to go further in this tournament."
"We ve got to be positive in our approach.
We ve got to score runs to give the bowlers
a chance. The attitude on the field also has
to be improved, so that s what we are con-
Sri Lanka will take the field at the Mel-
bourne Cricket Ground as heavy favourite
with a record of 32 wins from 37 one-day
internationals against Bangladesh, including
a 3-0 whitewash last year.
"Bangladesh have performed really well
in the recent past. It s a World Cup game.
It s going to be a pressure game for all of
us."Bangladesh s 105-run win over
Afghanistan may have been expected from
a test-playing country against an associate
nation, but captain Mashrafe Mortaza said
it represented progress.
"We lost to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup
last year and many people thought they will
win again, but look what happened," Mortaza
said. "We won easily and the same can hap-
pen again. We have defeated Sri Lanka in
recent times and can do so again if we play
to our potential."
run of victories Sri Lanka looks to improve against Bangladesh
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