World Twenty20: Ravi Bopara admits England's hopes rest on beating Sri Lanka in order to have any chance of semi-finals
Bopara has labelled Thursday's match as a 'must-win' if England are to prolong their campaign after New Zealand defeat
Thursday 27 March 2014
England's World Twenty20 fate cannot be finalised when they meet Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Thursday afternoon, but all-rounder Ravi Bopara insists the game is win or bust for his side.
Victory would give England hope of getting up a head of steam similar to the one that carried them to an unlikely success in the 2010 tournament, while defeat would leave them needing a most unlikely sequence of events to see them to the semi-finals.
Bopara, for one, is not wasting time or energy contemplating the latter - which would require a favourable set of results elsewhere as well as a sizeable shift in net run-rates - and has set a much simpler goal.
"It is a must-win game for us," he said.
"I don't think we know about the mathematical side of it: we just have to win.
"Winning against Sri Lanka would be a big thing for us, a big confidence boost, and that's how we're looking at it."
"The belief is still high in this team."
Bopara's positive outlook extends to his own contribution, with the Essex man publicly pondering the possibility of clearing the ropes from the very first ball of his innings.
England are seen by many as lacking the sheer power displayed by some of their rivals, but Bopara has a proven six-hitting pedigree.
Whether he would be able to hit that groove in the death overs against the skill of Lasith Malinga is another matter, but not one that has gone unconsidered.
"Look, it is tough to hit someone like Malinga out of the park consistently, which is why he's probably the best in the world," said Bopara.
"(But) I'm going to face roughly between 10-20 balls, at most, batting at number six so I need to be ready to hit a six after my third or fourth ball.
"I have been lying in my bed at times and thought: why don't I just hit the first ball for six? More often than not, the bowler just wants to land it on a length and hopefully get a dot, so it's probably the best ball to hit out of the park.
"It is a mental approach, definitely. But I have thought about it. You never know. I might do it against Sri Lanka, if I get a bat."
When the notion of Malinga, a master purveyor of the yorker and fifth highest wicket-taker in T20 internationals, being hit into the stands first up was put to Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal, he reacted doubtfully.
"I have never seen that in my career," he said.
"I can't hit him for a six - I never did that. I only try for boundaries against him.
"He is a really good bowler. He's one who is key to our success in the T20 format."
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