KANDY: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is wary of England's devastating duo Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright and believes dismissing them cheaply in Monday's World Twenty match is key to maintaining his team's winning momentum.
In the Super Eights, the hosts won a close match against New Zealand for their first win, while a thumping nine-wicket victory against West Indies on Saturday took them to the top of the table in Group One.
Sri Lanka meet holders England in their final Super Eight match at Pallekele on Monday. “In any game winning is a good habit, we need to get the momentum. We are excited to play defending champions England,” Jayawardene told reporters.
“They will throw us a different challenge and we are looking forward to it.”
Despite Morgan's heroics with the bat, England lost their first Super Eight match to West Indies but bounced back to keep alive their title defence with a six-wicket victory against New Zealand on Saturday.
Jayawardene said he was aware of the batting exploits of Morgan and Wright, who were the main contributors against the Black Caps.
“Those two guys have been around for a while. Eoin has been playing regularly, Luke not so regularly but he has been travelling a lot,” Jayawardene said.
“Luke has played lot of T20 cricket also and England is an exciting team when we saw them play in Colombo. They have some quality players and it should be a very good game.”
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his team would consider including an extra spinner in Samuel Badree in Monday's crucial match against New Zealand.
“There's a bit of possibility that Badree could play. It's horses for courses,” Sammy said. “If it is dry like it is on Monday he stands a good chance of playing.”
The West Indies batsmen struggled against Sri Lanka's spinners on Saturday but Sammy said the team had enough experience to adapt to the turning wickets.
“At the start of the tournament the ball was coming through but as the tournament went on we expected the pitches in Sri Lanka to have low and slow turn type of wickets,” Sammy said.
“We have enough experience in the dressing room to adapt to such conditions.”
New Zealand have the slimmest chance of making it to semi-finals, having lost both their Super Eight matches.
They need to beat West Indies by a big margin and hope that Sri Lanka defeat England in the second match on Monday.
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said Sri Lanka's thumping win against West Indies has given them some hope.
“It was disappointing to lose to England, a game we should have won,” Vettori said.
“We slipped up in that game and now we find ourselves fighting to stay in the competition.
“We can take a lot of positives the way Sri Lanka beat West Indies. Hope we can come up with something to pull off a win.”