Bopara ready to go big
Ravi Bopara is thinking big ahead of England's crucial ICC World Twenty20 clash with Sri Lanka on Thursday, saying he realises he needs to be hitting sixes right from the start.
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After England's controversial loss to New Zealand in their Super 10 opener, Stuart Broad's men in essence face a must-win scenario against one of the best T20 sides around.
England have often been criticised for not finding the boundary rope, or clearing it, often enough in Twenty20 games, but Bopara has been working on going big and early.
"Obviously you have to hit sixes in T20 cricket to push the run rates up. I can only speak for myself when I'm practising, I do need to practice hitting the ball over the ropes," said Bopara.
"I'm going to face roughly between 10-20 balls I think, at most, batting at number six so really after my third or fourth ball I need to be ready to hit a six so I'm going in and practising like that.
"I have been lying in my bed at times and thought why don't I just hit the first ball for six because more often than not the bowler just wants to land it on a length and get a dot, so it's probably the best ball to hit out the park, so I have thought about it."
Despite it being mathematically possible for England to lose and still go through to the semi-finals, Bopara says the team are viewing it very much as a must-win game.
"It is a must-win game for us, we don't know about any other mathematical sides of it, we have to win," he added. "Winning against Sri Lanka would be a big thing for us, a big confidence boost and that's the way we're looking at it."
Sri Lanka have made a superb start to the tournament, with a tight win over South Africa followed by the total destruction of Holland, bowling the Dutch out for just 39 to showcase the power of their bowling attack - but Bopara insists England will be much better prepared.
"Obviously I didn't expect them (Holland) to be bowled out for 39 or 40 or whatever it was, but they are tough customers especially if you haven't played against them and 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 and Mendis, and most of them actually, so we'll be a little bit more prepared."