Root braced for 'must-win game' against Sri Lanka


Joe Root has described England's World Twenty20 showdown with Sri Lanka as a "must-win game" as both sides seek a spot in the semi-finals.

West Indies' three-wicket win over South Africa on Friday sealed their berth, with the Proteas now keeping a close eye on Saturday's match in Delhi, where a win will send England through.

England have already shown their class under pressure after losing the opener to the Windies, chasing down a huge 229 to beat the Proteas and overcoming a tricky spell to defeat Afghanistan.

And Root is relishing the challenge that lies ahead against the reigning champions, who have played a game fewer.

"There is always pressure to perform. We know it's a must-win game, but it's been like that since we got here," said Root, who top scored with 83 against the Proteas.

"For us it's ultimately about winning our game. That's all we can worry about because that's the only way we're going to be able to qualify.

"You can only really afford to lose one game and even then you can still crash out of the competition. It's T20. It's a complete knockout from here on in if we want to win it.

"The pressure is no more than it has been since that second game. It's all about getting over the line."



Alex Hales missed the win over Afghanistan with a back injury, but Root is hopeful of having the opener available. He said: "He has improved. We will get a good idea how he will be tomorrow [Saturday], but it is going to be important making sure he is absolutely ready. If not, we have a strong squad and I am sure someone will fill in for him."


Angelo Mathews, standing in as captain in place of the injured Lasith Malinga, bemoaned a "horrible" fielding display in last Sunday's seven-wicket loss to the Windies and will hope for a better personal display with the ball, having gone for 13 off his solitary over in Bangalore.


Though Sri Lanka's solitary defeat en route to glory in 2014 came against England, they boast a 4-2 record in the head to head and must add to that if they are to keep up hopes of defending their world crown in the shortest format.


- Both of these sides have lost more Twenty20 Internationals than they have won during 2016; England have managed two wins from five matches compared to Sri Lanka's just three victories across their 11 games.
- Alex Hales' 116 not out against Sri Lanka in 2014 is the only instance of an England batsman recording a T20I century.
- Angelo Mathews needs 97 more runs to reach 1,000 T20I cricket.