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Scott Bailey

Sri Lanka set England 142 to reach semis

Pathum Nissanka made a half-century but he lacked support in Sri Lanka's innings against England. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Sri Lanka have set England a target of 142 to qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals, leaving hosts Australia on the brink of crashing out of the tournament.

With Australia's team sitting back in Adelaide needing a Sri Lanka victory, Pathum Nissanka hit 67 off 45 but had little support in his team's 8-141.

The opener made his intent clear in a big start to the powerplay, hitting Ben Stokes for six over backward square leg from the second ball of the match.

He struck five sixes, regularly clipping the ball off middle and leg stump into the crowd and playing a fine uppercut for six off Mark Wood.

But when he was caught trying to take on Adil Rashid, Sri Lanka struggled to find any momentum as they lost 5-25 in the final five overs.

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has won the toss and opted to bat first against England. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

A win for England will be enough for them to qualify for the semi-finals ahead of Australia, ending the defending champions' tournament.

To do so, England will need to become the first team to win chasing at the SCG this tournament.

Adding to the challenge will be a pitch that offered plenty of assistance to the spinners after being used for the third match in eight days.

That was evident in Sri Lanka's innings, as England's three spinners went for 1-37 off their seven overs with Rashid claiming 1-16 from his four-over spell.

England could also be without Dawid Malan in their innings after he limped from the field with an apparent groin injury in the 15th over.

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