T20 World Cup 2021, live score and latest updates

England’s Twenty20 World Cup juggernaut rolls into Sharjah this afternoon to play Sri Lanka where victory would give them the points to guarantee the semi-final spot their dominance so far deserves. It’s the biggest stadium but slowest pitch and smallest playing area in the Super 12s, producing the highest three totals – Bangladesh’s 171 for four chased down by Sri Lanka’s 172 for five and Afghanistan’s 190 for four in their annihilation of Scotland. 

Bangladesh’s left-armers did most damage in last week’s nipper against West Indies, which might suggest that David Willey could be a useful option if England are minded to give some of their squad players a game and there may be some benefit to seeing how Mark Wood bears up following his return from injury with the semi-finals in mind. Willey, after all, took three for 36 in their sole previous T20 match at this stadium, one they dramatically tied with Pakistan back in 2015. But there is such flintiness to Eoin Morgan’s captaincy that it seems far more likely that he will stick with the same XI who have demolished West Indies, Bangladesh and Australia. 

Given that England have won their past six matches against Sri Lanka and even inflicted the only defeat on them in Bangladesh in 2014 when SL became world champions (a match in which Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler and Chris Jordan all played), England would be overwhelming favourites even if their form was less commanding. 

However, nothing has ever gone smoothly for them. Even in 2010 when they won it and two years ago when they finally won the 50-over World Cup, they lost group matches, none more surprising than the defeat by today’s opponents at Headingley. Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka are batting very well for Sri Lanka’s bold new side while the leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has taken 11 wickets at 10.54 and at an economy rate below six and the off-spinner Maheesh Thakshana has eight at 12.87 with an econ rate of merely 6.05.

England’s steamroller would normally flatten better teams than this highly promising but transitional Sri Lanka team but they are not without hope. Play starts at 2pm GMT. Join us for the toss and team news from 1.30pm. 

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