Broad backs England to come good
England must start playing to the potential captain Stuart Broad is convinced they have - or face an early exit from the ICC World Twenty20.
The champions know, after Thursday's 15-run defeat against the West Indies at Pallekele, that they need to beat New Zealand at the same venue or suffer what could be harsh consequences.
Should they lose on Saturday afternoon, and Sri Lanka beat the West Indies in the match which follows, England's defence of their title will be over - irrespective of how they fare against the hosts in their final Super Eight fixture on Monday.
Broad has good reason to be exasperated by the damaging false starts to England's last two run chases, in which early wickets have put them in near-impossible situations.
They never hinted at recovery in a record defeat against India, but did get closer than seemed likely on Thursday thanks to a century stand between Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales.
A simple but stark equation nonetheless faces England - and their captain appears to be relishing the chance to show their true colours, when nothing else will do.
"The next two games are must-win for us," he said.
"That's quite a good place to be in; you have clear targets of what you need to achieve.
"We've got two really huge games coming up, and we've got some really positive signs as well.
"The way Samit Patel came back with the ball was really good (against the West Indies), and the way Hales and Morgan played was exciting.
"We just need to put it all together in these next two games. If we do that, we're in the semi-final of a World Cup."
England's most pressing concern is to avoid the self-inflicted blows which have so hampered them at the top of the order - where Craig Kieswetter's position may be in question, even at this pivotal stage.
"Whoever takes the responsibility to go out there and face that new ball, it's important they do get through that first over," said Broad.
"We've lost wickets pretty regularly in the first couple of overs - and we saw against Afghanistan, when you have wickets in hand, how dangerous you can be.
"It's about the realisation of players, accepting we can't lose wickets that early."
Hales and Morgan's innings were much more encouraging.
"We did some very positive things, obviously, Alex to anchor the innings and the way 'Morgs' played was fantastic," added Broad.
"But we didn't quite get it right, and it ended up costing us.
"Against New Zealand, we hope we can put that right.
"We've got guys who've done some brilliant things in domestic Twenty20 cricket.
"Individuals have put performances in consistently. It's important in these next two games, we do that as a whole."
England promoted Jonny Bairstow ahead of Morgan, at the crisis point of nought for two on Thursday night.
It was a tactical switch with which Bairstow did not appear to come to terms, but one that played to Morgan's strengths - according to Broad.
"Morgs has this amazing skill to find the boundaries when the fielders are back - which not everyone has.
"He's not especially suited to piercing the in-field when everyone is in. So the risk-reward for someone so valuable to our team might be too high for him to try to do that.
"Certainly, if you lose Morgs in that first six - and you're three down in it - you're in big trouble.
"So it was decided - through the management side, and with Morgs himself - that his skills would be best used in those middle overs.
"He showed how dangerous he can be, but we just didn't quite set it up for him.
"What we want to avoid is, like against India, when he was bowled in the sixth over. We know how key a player he is for us."
To beat New Zealand, England are likely to need more than two players on form.
Broad said: "We know the dangers New Zealand have - a very powerful batting line-up, with the likes of (Brendon) McCullum, (Ross) Taylor and (Martin) Guptill.
"(Daniel) Vettori has been a thorn in our side ever since I've been playing.
"But if we put our plans into place, and perform the way we can, I think we'll be a very dangerous team."
For New Zealand, the most important hurdle may be psychological - after their tie with Sri Lanka, only to lose out in a Super Over.
Guptill so nearly got the Black Caps home, but was instead caught on the boundary.
"It's obviously very difficult getting over last night," he said.
"We came so close, and couldn't quite get over the line.
"The guys have taken what they can learn from it, to go into planning against England tomorrow.
"There's a lot of confidence. We can't go in thinking we're up against it - because it's the same for both teams.
"We both have to win our next two games to make it through to the semi-finals, so it's pretty much down to the crunch matches now."
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