After their record breaking win over South Africa last week, England will be looking to consolidate their position in Group 1 when they take on Afghanistan in Delhi on Wednesday.
Eoin Morgan’s team were in serious trouble at the half way stage when South Africa amassed 229/4 in their innings, and with a second defeat in the group stages looming, England were on the verge of needing to reply on other results after only their second group match (having already lost their opening fixture to West Indies).
That was until they produced a sensational run chase, and not only won their first match of the 2016 tournament, but also sent out a serious message to the rest of the cricketing world that England are a dangerous side, that finally have to be respected (at long last).
After their first match defeat at the hands of Chris Gayle and West Indies, England had drifted out to double figures (around 14/1) to win the tournament. Now Paddy Power have them back in at 13/2 (still only fifth favourites).
The comeback on Friday was mainly down to the excellence of Joe Root – who surely now has made a valid case to be regarded as the best all round batsman in world cricket – and the explosive start produced by Alex Hales (17 off 7 balls) and predominately Jason Roy (43 runs off 16 balls).
Then it was the Joe Root show. The Yorkshireman was sublime, creaming the South African attack to all parts of the Wankhede Stadium, scoring his 83 runs off 44 balls, at a strike rate of 188.63, with six 4s and four 6s in his Man Of The Match winning knock. Root is now as short as 4/9 to be England’s top run scorer at the tournament.
West Indies look all but assured of a place in the semi-finals after just two matches (they have already beat England and Sri Lanka). Their remaining fixtures are against South Africa on Friday, and if they don’t secure qualification there, they will no doubt complete the job when they take on Afghanistan on Sunday 27th in Nagpur.
The final spot out of Group 1 seems to be a straight shoot out between England, South Africa and Sri Lanka, with Afghanistan already looking like the group’s whipping boys with two defeats from two matches so far.
England should have 4 points (assuming they beat Afghanistan) by the time they take on Sri Lanka, which will make it a must win game for Angelo Matthews’ team if they want to stay in competition.
Even if they do go on to win that match, they will then play South Africa in their final group game, meaning the defending champions will have to do things the hard way if they are to even make it past the group stages. Sri Lanka are currently 66/1 in the World T20 betting to defend the trophy and win the 2016 World T20.