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 this 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.”
Meanwhile, a record Twenty20 World Cup opening stand of 133 by David Warner and Shane Watson yesterday helped Australia cruise to a nine-wicket win over India in their first Super Eights match.
Watson, who also took three for 34 with the ball, won his third straight man of the match award in the tournament after lashing seven sixes and two fours in a 42-ball 72.
Warner made an undefeated 63 in 41 deliveries after rain had interrupted play three balls into the Australian innings.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unable to stem the flow of runs despite using eight bowlers including part-timers Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first but his team were restricted to 140 for seven. Opener Irfan Pathan top-scored with 31.
In yesterday’s other Super Eights clash, Umar Gul blasted 32 runs off 17 balls and Umar Akmal struck an unbeaten 43 as Pakistan beat South Africa by two wickets in a nail-biting encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Gul struck three sixes and two boundaries in his entertaining cameo while Akmal remained unbeaten after a 41-ball knock as Pakistan chased down the 134-run victory target with two balls to spare.
Dale Steyn was South Africa’s most successful bowler, claiming three for 22 runs but the Proteas bled boundaries in the last five overs to allow Pakistan snatch a thrilling victory.
Opting to bat first, South Africa overcame a top order crisis to post 133 for six wickets, a total built largely around J.P. Duminy’s 38-ball 48 that included two sixes and as many boundaries.