England 1-14 to begin T20 defence with win
ENGLAND begin the defence of their World Twenty20 title against 9-1 shots Afghanistan on Friday knowing that they have stuttered out of the blocks in the last two 20-over tournaments.
The boys in blue lifted the trophy in the West Indies two years ago despite scrambling through the first round. They were somewhat harshly beaten by the hosts on a Duckworth-Lewis decision in their opener, and were under pressure against Ireland when rain arrived to take them through to the next stage.
A year earlier, England were hosts but crashed to a four-wicket defeat against Holland in the first match.
Even without hard-hitting batsman Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad's side have impressed in their warm-ups for the showdown in Sri Lanka and are 1-14 for the victory that would take them through to the Super Eights.
But Afghanistan showed plenty of spirit in their 23-run loss to India and England will be wary of another shaky start.
Read Friday's Racing Post for England v Afghanistan and Bangladesh v New Zealand betting preview packages