Paul Farbrace admits England have yet to find their best form at the World Twenty20, but takes heart from the fact that a semi-final place could be just one win away.
England’s assistant coach knows all about winning the competition, having led Sri Lanka to the title in Bangladesh two years ago.
And it his former side who await in Delhi tomorrow, in a game in which England need to triumph to have any chance of a knockout berth.
Farbrace accepted England have yet to put a complete performance together – with the batsmen bailing out the bowlers against South Africa and vice versa in an unconvincing victory over Afghanistan on Wednesday.
But he knows from experience that how a team starts is less important than how they finish.
“We know there are areas to improve on, we’re not going to hide,” he said after a 15-run win that sounds more cosy than it was.
“We’re not shirking away from any performance. We’ve been honest, we didn’t get it right with the ball in the first two games and we didn’t bat well in the first 10 overs of the Afghanistan game.
“We were very disappointed with the way that we batted. There’s no fudging that.
“So we’ve only played half a game again, but we have won which is the most important thing.
“We’ve put ourselves in the position where if we play well against Sri Lanka and we’re able to win the game, we give ourselves a good chance of going through to the next stage. Then you’ve got to play well in the knockout stages to win the competition.”
Talk of lifting the trophy may seem fanciful at first blush, particularly for a side who seemed destined for an early flight home when Afghanistan had them caught in the headlights at 57-6.
But success is a theme Farbrace returns to frequently.
He knows the 15-man squad is a callow one, with limited experience in India and a handful of key men playing in their first global event, and though he gives leeway for that it never comes at the expense of the end result.
“I’ve said many times that this team is an inexperienced team that needs to learn and develop, but we’ve got to win,” he said.
“That, for me, is the key thing. We’re trying to learn, we’re trying to develop, whilst winning at the same time. There will be chats about how we can take that forward, without saying we’re going to throw away everything that we’ve done over the last 10 months in terms of moving our white-ball cricket forward.”
Farbrace also lined up in support of captain Eoin Morgan, whose search for form reached a low ebb against Afghanistan when he left his first ball and saw it clatter his stumps.
“In practice – and you’d expect me to say this – he’s striking the ball very well,” he said.
“Eoin is very honest. He’s not someone who’ll be kidding us and making excuses. He misjudged the ball.
“But he’s the sort of bloke who is our experienced man and maybe he feels that in this side he carries a fair bit of weight on his shoulders.
“Maybe he feels he has to do more than he needs to.
“But between now and Saturday there’ll be a decent discussion with him, making sure he’s clear in his own mind how he’s going to play and making sure his plans are exactly right.”