As we get close to the midway point in the World Cup, it is pretty clear who will be in the semi-finals. India will be there for sure, as will Australia and England. They have looked the three strongest teams in the competition.
The fourth spot could be occupied by New Zealand, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. It is unclear as of today as to who among the 3 will make it. Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies, it is safe to say are out of the contest. But you never know.
England have had a perfect World Cup except for the loss against Pakistan. Since then they have done nothing wrong and Captain Eoin Morgan has rediscovered his biggest trump card: The batsman Eoin Morgan.
Morgan on his day is the most dangerous batsman in ODI cricket. He is impossible to stop once he gets going and is especially brilliant against spinners. The way he demolished Rasheed Khan in the last game against Afghanistan was a joy to behold. 17 sixes in just one match – we have never seen anything like that before.
He is without question the best batsman in a team packed with match batters at very position. We fully expect the English batting lineup to demolish the Sri Lankan bowling attack, which is quite frankly, mediocre at best. The fact they still have Lasith Malinga playing for them at 38, when he is clearly unfit and slowed down a lot indicates a complete paucity of bowling talent.
Sri Lanka do have a decent batting line-up and will depend on their batsmen to put up a show. Won’t be easy against an English team that has two of the quickest bowlers in the world – Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. Archer, in particular has established a reputation as the most exciting fast bowling talent in the world. He is hungry and desperate to make an impression.
England: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Liam Plunkett/Mark Wood
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Lahiru Thirimanne/Avishka Fernando, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Milinda Siriwardana, 7 Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Nuwan Pradeep
Headingley is generally good for seamers. The forecast is good, no rain expected. So, we should have a good full day’s match.
Prediction: Quick and easy win for England. No contest.