By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
Sri Lanka might not be the favourite for the match, but it knows a win will put it in a fantastic position
While it's safe to assume that England won’t approach its last Group B clash of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2014 at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Sunday (March 30) with revenge on its mind, that result has added an extra edge to the clash.
England is sitting pretty with two wins in three matches and is the favourite to make it to the final four. But the tag of favourite is something it is uncomfortable with, despite two Ashes series wins on the bounce in the last six months.
And with enough reason. The bowling has come good in trying conditions. Anya Shrubsole, the pace spearhead, has been backed up well by Natalie Sciver and Danielle Hazelle, the left-arm spinner, but the same can't be said about the batting. Edwards apart, the top order is yet to live up to its signature tune. Sarah Taylor has aggregated just 52 runs in three innings, while Lydia Greenway hasn't managed to convert her starts.
But the England team management isn't fretting just yet. "We’re not too worried about Sarah, honestly" said Edwards. "We know she's a class player and how destructive she can be. When you have a game like that, there are times when you won't come off. But I have no doubts at all that she will come good soon."
And the players proved that they aren’t worried, the entire squad enjoying a day out, soaking in the sights and sounds of Sylhet. The team went out shopping followed by a tour around the tea plantations adjoining the hills on match-eve.
While a win on Sunday would take England through to the semi-finals irrespective of other results, a loss could leave it in a tight spot, as it would then be tied with Sri Lanka, who would have played a game less. It's something Shashikala Siriwardene, the Sri Lankan captain, is well aware of.
"Nobody gave us a chance last year," pointed out Siriwardene. "But we proved we are a capable side. As a team we have the quality, it's just about how relaxed we are when we approach a big team like England. Obviously they have more experience than us, but on the field, that doesn't matter. The good thing for us is we can still control our own fate."
Sri Lanka's campaign began with a lot of hope as it beat India Women by 22 runs, but quickly found out that one small slip could make it slide pretty quickly. The batting, which looked promising to begin with, suddenly fell apart as it was shot out for 84 against a well-oiled West Indies Women unit, which has booked its place in the semifinals since then.
Like India, Sri Lanka is faced with the problem of relying on its impact players – Siriwardene and Kaushalya. But there's no dearth of talent even if one were to look beyond those two. Chamari Atapattu has the experience, Deepika Rasangika has the flamboyance, but, as a unit, they're yet to fire in unison.
"We’ve managed to identify a set of players who we believe in, now it’s a question of slotting them at the right positions in order to get the best out of them," said Siriwardene. "We have done the small things right, we now need to step up when the pressure is on. We have spoken about it, hopefully it will come off."
Sri Lanka: Shashikala Siriwardene (capt), Chamari Atapattu, Eshani Kaushalya, Deepika Rasangika, Sripali Weerakkody, Chandima Gunaratne, Chamari Polgampola, Rebeka Vandort (wk), Oshadi Ranasinghe, Hasini Perera, Yashoda Mendis, Maduri Samudikka, Udeshika Prabodhini, Nilakshi Silva.
England: Charlotte Edwards (capt), Tammy Beaumont, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor (wk), Frances Wilson, Kate Cross, Jodie Dibble, Georgia Elwiss.