T20 World Cup: Chris Woakes says England will focus on result before net run-rate against Sri Lanka

·4-min read
Getty Images

England's hopes of finishing in the top-two of their group and going on to the semi-finals rest on beating Sri Lanka and hoping Australia do not overturn their inferior net run-rate against Afghanistan. If Australia are able to thump Afghanistan on Friday then England may have to do more than win but they have the advantage of knowing exactly what will be required as they play 24 hours later. But having already suffered a shock defeat against Ireland, Woakes is well aware England should not be contemplating what might unfold and insisted that emerging victorious is the main priority. "At the end of the day we don't go through if we don't win this game, two points is the most important thing - I think we all realise that," Woakes said. "You can look at net run-rates all you like but if the points aren't there it's irrelevant. I think we're fully focused on the fact that Sri Lanka will be a tough challenge. "We've already seen in this tournament and experienced that ourselves that if you're not quite on your game a team will take advantage of that and can easily knock you over. "I don't think we feel we deserve or have the right to win World Cups because we have a good side. It's all about how we perform in these crucial moments and games." Woakes, though, conceded he had "plenty of fist pumps" as he watched Lorcan Tucker rescue Ireland from 25 for five to deny Australia a much bigger win than the 42-run margin they claimed on Monday. England then boosted their own net run-rate with a 20-run victory over New Zealand. If they can string together another three wins then they will become the first side to unify the limited-overs World Cups. A key cog in the England side that triumphed in the 50-over edition in 2019, Woakes admitted having tournament-winning experience could be crucial over the next couple of weeks. "If you hadn't done that before you'd probably think 'God that's such a huge mountain to climb'," Woakes said. "T20 can be a little bit fickle at times, but at the same time it's also a big momentum game, so hopefully we can touch on that experience."

England were captained to glory in 2019 by Eoin Morgan, but Woakes feels Jos Buttler has stepped out of his immediate predecessor's shadow and is starting to mould the team in his own image. "It definitely feels like Jos has stamped his authority on the team a bit more," Woakes said. "Taking over the reins from Morgs, who has had a successful reign as captain and has done so much for the game, he must have felt the pressure of that, there's no doubt about that. "I've seen the Jos that I know and the confidence he has as a player, he's showing that as captain." One subplot on Saturday will be Chris Silverwood, who was England's head coach as they reached the semi-finals at the United Arab Emirates last year but is now in charge of Sri Lanka. Woakes confessed to feeling some responsibility following Silverwood's sacking after a heavy Ashes loss, but he was adamant the Yorkshireman's presence in the opposing dugout is of little concern to England. "You definitely do feel that sort of burden, a little bit, of the fact that you could have done better to help someone stay in a job," Woakes added. "I had some good times with Spoons and I'd still class him as a friend. It'll be good to come up against him on Saturday. "I don't think it will have any effect on how the game goes. I'm sure there might be some outside noise but nothing with regards to inside the dressing room." While Liam Livingstone had ankle discomfort and Ben Stokes jarred his finger against New Zealand, the pair are expected to be fine to play on Saturday as England could once more go with an unchanged XI.

The article T20 World Cup: Chris Woakes says England will focus on result before net run-rate against Sri Lanka appeared first on Planetsport.com.