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Cricket

Ali set to join England hundred club

England's Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali never expected to join England’s hundred club but will bring up a century of one-day internationals in Friday’s World Cup clash against Sri Lanka.

Moeen made his debut in Antigua five years ago, as a spin-bowling opening batsman, and is still going strong.

The role may have changed, settling at number seven in the order and relying more heavily than ever on his steady off-breaks, but he will still be just the 22nd Englishman to bring up the landmark.

“It obviously means a lot, to play 100 ODI games for England. I never, ever thought in my wildest dreams that I would get close to it,” he said.

“It’s an amazing feeling. To see the team we are now, looking back if I was to retire I’d always be able to say I was part of that change, the whole mindset changing and the great cricket we’ve played.”

Victory for England would make it five out of six for the tournament hosts and give them an iron grip on a semi-final spot.

They are currently joined in the top four by Australia, India and New Zealand and it is becoming increasingly likely that they will be the sides to contest the knockout phase.

Moeen accepted that was both the likeliest outcome and a fair reflection of the competition to date, but cautioned against taking any individual contest for granted.

“At the moment the top four are there for a reason, because they’re probably playing the best cricket of all of the teams and playing the most consistently,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of games to go but it looks like that could be the top four. But anything can happen, we know that, I’m sure teams like Bangladesh will have something to say about it. They’re playing really good cricket and are a very dangerous side.

“Sri Lanka are also a big threat tomorrow as you saw against Australia, they were playing very well and probably could have won.”

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