Australia’s Marcus Stoinis said “backs are still against the wall” when they face England on Friday at the Twenty20 World Cup after the all-rounder led the holders to victory over Sri Lanka. The hosts and defending champions bounced back from their opening-day hammering to New Zealand to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Perth on Tuesday. Stoinis smashed 59 off 18 balls to demolish the Sri Lankan attack as the hosts achieved their target of 158 with 21 balls to spare. Up next for Australia are arch-rivals England, who won their opener against Afghanistan, in Melbourne.
Stoinis knows that his side have little room for further error in the defence of their crown. “Backs are still against the wall I think,” Stoinis said. “It’s going to be a really important game for us.
“I don’t know what the equations are going to be later on through the tournament. There has been a bit of rain around Australia as well, we will look to take that game on.”
England, who recently outplayed Australia in a three-match T20 series, were the pre-tournament favourites along with the hosts. They would like nothing more than to usher Australia towards the exit.
“They are a very, very good team,” Stoinis said of an England side led by Jos Buttler. “Very strong batting line-up, skillful bowlers, good mix of left-arm, right armers, spin, leg spin, so they got all bases covered.”
He added: “Obviously we didn’t start the way we wanted this World Cup campaign to start, so it’s nice to be on board. It’s going to be a big game on Friday at the MCG.”
Stoinis hit four fours and six sixes in his 18-ball blitz to take apart the Sri Lankan bowlers including spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga. The Perth-born Stoinis credited playing in the Indian Premier League for his evolution as a power-hitter.
“Definitely the IPL has changed my cricket and helped me evolve and it’s not only playing on the wickets but having coaches from all over the world, having players from different countries,” said the 33-year-old.
“I have played for quite a few years in the IPL for quite a few teams, so you come across a range of techniques and mentalities about how to play spin so it has helped me improve for sure.”
Stoinis represented the Lucknow Super Giants franchise this year.
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