Broad keen for England to keep momentum going as India await in Group A showdown
11:58 GMT, 22 September 2012
Stuart Broad's defending champions will be playing for the pride of England, rather than any tangible ICC World Twenty20 reward, when they meet India.
The structure of this short tournament dictates that once the routine business of beating a group minnow – Afghanistan in England and India's case – is safely out of the way, the two heavyweights can lock horns without direct consequence.
The Super Eight venues and oppositions for both teams will not change, irrespective of the outcome under the Premadasa Stadium lights.
So it is that the final Group A match will surely be billed in a broader context by many, and the significance or otherwise of the Indian Premier League will doubtless be inferred from the result.
Winning start: Stuart Broad runs out Karim Sadiq during England's 116-run victory over Afghanistan
Hundreds of IPL matches on one side's CV contrasts with barely a handful, courtesy of Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright, on the other.
Captain Broad, of course, will diplomatically let others do the talking on that topic.
But he does have to make sure his team can make the mental leap required to convince themselves that, if not the reputation of the IPL, then something certainly is at stake.
Asked what that might be, the England captain surprisingly avoided that great abstract notion of all cricket tournaments and series – 'momentum'.
National pride, instead, will be his motivation – and, by natural consequence, his team's too.
'I think it's hard to call any game meaningless when you're putting on the Three Lions of England and you're taking the field as an international,' said Broad.
'Whether it is a must-win for us or whether we don't have to win to go through, it won't change the way our approach to the game.
'Any game against India is huge. It will have massive viewing appeal, and we know how passionate the Indian fans are about their cricket so we want to put on a fantastic show.
'It certainly won't dampen the mood that we're already through – it will be a fantastic game of cricket.'
Shake on it: Broad and Gulbodin Naib share pleasantries in Colombo
Broad is heartened that, quite apart from the ruthless 116-run dismissal of Afghanistan on the back of a brilliant 99 not out from Luke Wright, England have been toughened up for this assignment by some pedigree opposition.
A drawn home series against South Africa was followed by hard-fought warm-up wins here against Australia and then Pakistan.
'We've been performing and competing against top-level teams, so it's not like we're coming up against India and it's our first real challenge in the last few weeks,' he said.
'We do know the dangers they offer. But if we focus on what we did really well [against Afghanistan] we can be a challenge for anyone.
'Throughout the whole batting line-up, we struck it really well. If we have batsmen in towards the end, you can see how dangerous we can be, and the aggression we showed with the ball and in the field to take the chances like we did was superb.'
Broad has great respect, but no fear, for an opposition line-up – under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni – crammed with superstar talent.
He is confident England can match them at every step.
'India have got a powerful batting line-up. We know the dangers they offer – they've played a lot of Twenty20 cricket domestically and internationally,' he added.
'But one thing I will say if we play cricket like we have here – the way we went about things, the passion, energy we showed in the field – we'll be in a good position.
'You look through our batting line-up – we've got guys who can clear the ropes from ball one – and our bowling unit is powerful as well.
'We've got guys who can hit people on the head, brilliant slower balls, good yorkers and good spinners – and if we field like we did on Friday all tournament, we'll win some games with our fielding as well.'
Returning hero: Yuvraj Singh (left) gets a spray of sun cream from MS Dhoni
One of the biggest names in India's stellar batting order is Yuvraj Singh, back at centre stage after his battle to recover from lung cancer.
Broad is full of admiration for a player he will never be able to forget, having been hit by him for six sixes in an over at Durban in the inaugural World Twenty20 tournament five years ago.
'To have an illness like that is horrible to see, and the whole cricketing world got behind him,' he said.
'It's great to see him back playing for India; we know what a dangerous player he is, and he's someone you look out for and do your research on.
'It's amazing for a player come back from an illness like that and come back as strongly as he has.'
Meanwhile Kevin Pietersen's absence from England's campaign remains an issue more for opponents than Broad's team, it seems.
While a disaffected Pietersen is working instead in a nearby television studio as a broadcast pundit, others – most recently Wright – are making enough runs to serve England well.
Broad's opposite number Dhoni insists nonetheless that the unavailability of Pietersen makes England less formidable.
'It is very difficult to replace Pietersen in this format,' he said.
'If Pietersen was part of their side they would be a slightly more difficult side to beat.'
India are considering several changes, to give their squad players some match time in case they are needed in the later stages of the tournament.
'We are looking to make a few changes to our playing X1 so that most of the players get at least one game before going into the next stage,' added Dhoni.