New Delhi: A win against Sri Lanka will put them firmly in contention for a semi-final berth but England's best batsman Joe Root was forthright in his assessment that his team has not been able to play "best cricket" in the tournament so far.
"If we're being honest, we've not done one part of our game consistently well. Times we've bowled extremely well and when we've batted well. The exciting thing for me is, when that comes together we'll be a very hard side to beat," Root told mediapersons ahead of their final group league game against Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Saturday.
But he also admitted that finding ways to win is the key, which they have done in the last two matches.
"We have not performed at our best throughout the competition, which in a way is quite exciting because we know that's still to come. The really pleasing thing for me is we're finding ways of winning games of cricket. As long as we can continue to do that, all we can worry about is making sure we get that win tomorrow and give ourselves the best chance of qualifying," said Root.
Even if England win, they need to keep a track of other matches and Root said that they are keeping a tab of what's happening in the group.
"Important to watch the other games. Especially, throughout the tournament, how certain pitches are likely to play. Tonight's an important game for us, because we'll have an idea where we'll stand in the table. For us, it's about winning the game – that's the only way we're going to be able to qualify."
For someone who had an impressive Test debut in India, Root knows a thing or two about how to play on pitches offering turn. But for him there is no hard and fast method of playing slow bowlers on Indian tracks.
"Everyone has their own way of playing it. There is no right or wrong way. For me it's about trying to face as few dot balls as possible and trying to cash in on the boundaries when they're available. Every surface is different. About making sure you give yourself the best chance on that kind of wicket. Sometimes you might have to face a few balls to get accustomed to it.
"Ultimately, it's about playing the situation in front of you, reading the wicket, reading the score if you're chasing, and making sure you're working with your partner to whittle it down and take the game away from the opposition."
Communication with batting partner is also very important, according to Root.
"You want to keep that intent, but there are other ways of scoring quickly. Working with your partner, different areas on different wickets. Down the ground or knock it for twos. Watching the game."
The approach against Sri Lanka will be not to lose too many wickets.
"Never want to lose wickets. But you've always got to look to put a score on the board. Our approach might have been wrong in the last game and that's what we've got to put right tomorrow. It’s about doing all those right things and learning from the mistakes we made if we are on a similar sort of wicket. Getting our heads round that."
Being a cricketer from outside the sub-continent, it's the smart ways that a player devices to counter the pitches, which could be the mantra to his success.
"Being from England, you've got to work it out pretty quick and be quite smart. You can make assumptions the day before the game, but it's about what you do when you're out there. We have to be clear how the pitch is going to play."
For Root, every game in the tournament has been a must-win game and it wont be any different against the defending champions tomorrow.
"There's always pressure to perform. We know it's a must-win game but it's been like that since we got here. You can only afford to lose one game, and even then you can crash out of the competition. The pressure's no more than it has been throughout the whole thing."
Root feels that in the past year the England batting unit has really turned it around in the shortest format piling up big scores. A testimony to that was the 182 against West Indies and chasing down 230 against the Proteas.
"It's something that has really worked for us over the last 12 months. Okay, we have had bad days along the way, but we're gradually getting better and better at it. We're scoring big more consistently, which is something we've struggled with before. We've got to keep improving and keep playing our individual ways. When that works we have a great balance," said Root, who also informed that injured batsman Alex Hales will undergo a fitness test on Friday.
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Updated Date: Mar 25, 2016 18:13:32 IST