Are they playing for pride, honour, a trophy?
No! They’re playing for momentum.
Going into the Twenty20 World Cup with this batting line-up, England will need as much momentum as they can get, because it rather feels like they’re about to roll into a brick wall rather than a little hillock.
A common refrain from batsmen in the early days of Twenty20 cricket was ’20 overs is longer than you think’. It isn’t, unless you think there’s four balls in an over. However, the subtext – that you don’t have to take a swing at everything like a pendulum in a bar brawl – still holds true.
England’s batting seems a bit swingy. South Africa have four Test batsmen in their top five. We don’t really know who plays Test cricket for England any more, but they probably have about one Test batsman in their Twenty20 top six – either Jonny Bairstow or Eoin Morgan.
It doesn’t seem enough. It’s a different format, not a different sport, as Hashim Amla showed in the last match.