By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 20th June 2019
England can all but seal their place in 2019 ICC World Cup semi-finals with a win over a struggling Sri Lanka, whose bowlers are likely to fear the worst in the wake of the hosts’ incendiary victory over Afghanistan last time out.
Eoin Morgan proved the pitiless catalyst for turning an accomplished batting performance into a brutal beatdown at Old Trafford, smashing 148 runs off 16 overs.
With Australia, India and New Zealand – all of which seem likely to reach the last four – to face in their remaining Group Stage fixtures, he’ll see this match as the last of the low-hanging fruit.
The result is expected to be another bludgeoning showing with the bat from England, who are trading at odds of just 1/12 to win the clash and 5/6 to score over 345 runs if they bat first.
Headingley – a happy place for England ODI batsmen
If the forecasts weren’t already fair to fantastic for an England batting line-up that heads the World Cup run-rate standings, the return to a ground where they’ve made hay in recent visits offers further promise of a big score.
They posted a first innings total of 350/9 against Pakistan in Leeds back in May and hunted down an Indian total of 256 for the loss of just two wickets in 44.3 overs on their preceding visit.
In the Headingley outing prior to the second of those victories they once again went well north of 300, hitting South Africa for 339.
All three matches saw big totals from man of the moment Morgan, who claimed 76 against Pakistan, 88 against Indian and 107 versus the South Africans in those Leeds assignments.
Given his history of nice ODI knocks at the ground, the England skipper looks a steal at 5/6 to score over 36.5 runs. The same three matches saw Joe Root amass an aggregate score of 221.
Sri Lankan attack proving inadequate against the top sides
They may have bowled out Afghanistan for 152, but Dimuth Karunaratne’s attack have struggled against the two top sides, Australia and New Zealand, they’ve faced so far.
The Black Caps needed just 16 overs to dash off the 137 runs Sri Lanka set them at Sophia Gardens, while the Aussies set them a total of 334 when the sides clashed at the Oval.
Facing arguably the deepest batting line-up of the competition, they could be in serious trouble.