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Bopara knows importance of Sri Lanka clash

England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has labelled tomorrow's World Twenty20 clash against Sri Lanka as "must-win".

Having narrowly lost to New Zealand on the Duckworth/Lewis method in their tournament opener, Stuart Broad's side need to claim two points on Thursday if they are to keep progression to the semi-finals in their own hands.

Strictly speaking, they can afford to lose to Sri Lanka but would have to rely heavily on other results going their way in Group 1 in order to qualify for the last four - something that Bopara is not contemplating.

He said: "It is a must-win game for us.

"I don't think we know about the mathematical side of it; we have to win.

Ravi Bopara is hoping England can contain the likes of Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis when they face a confident Sri Lanka side tomorrow

"Winning against Sri Lanka would be a big thing for us, a big confidence boost and that's how we're looking at it.

"The belief is still high in this team. We've done a lot of good things in the last few games, although we haven't won a lot of games the boys are getting better at their skills."

Paul Farbrace's Sri Lanka head into the encounter full of confidence following their demolition of Netherlands, who they dismissed for just 39 in a nine-wicket triumph two days ago.

However, Bopara believes England will be more prepared than the Dutch were to face the likes of paceman Lasith Malinga and mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, having faces the duo previously.

"I didn't expect them to be bowled out for 39 but Sri Lanka are tough customers, especially if you haven't played them before," he said.

"I don't think the Netherlands have played much against Sri Lanka but we've seen a lot of their cricketers.

"We've played against Malinga quite a bit, we've played Mendis, we've played most of them actually, so we'll be a little bit more prepared."

England struck a quintet of sixes in a total of 172 for five against the Black Caps - the highest score in four contests at ZACS Stadium.

And middle-order batsman Bopara has targeted more maximums tomorrow, saying: "Obviously you have to hit sixes in T20 cricket to push the run-rates up.

"I'm going to face roughly between 10-20 balls, at most, batting at number six so I need to be ready to hit a six after my third or fourth ball.

"I have been lying in my bed at times and thought: why don't I just hit the first ball for six? More often than not, the bowler just wants to land it on a length and hopefully get a dot, so it's probably the best ball to hit out of the park.

"It is a mental approach, definitely. But I have thought about it. You never know. I might do it tomorrow, if I get a bat."

Fans can pre-order England’s new ICC T20 kit through the ECB’s online store

Waitrose are giving fans the chance to win 2 tickets to an England international this summer. Simply answer this simple question – Who are the current holders of the men’s ICC World T20? - via email to waitrosecompetition@essentiallygroup.com including your name, address and phone number.

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