Alex Hales scored his maiden T20I century © Getty Images
By Shrikant Shankar
Mar 27, 2014
Alex Hales‘s masterful 116 not out powered England to a sensational six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the ICC World T20 2014 at Chittagong on March 27. England were chasing a massive 190-run target in a Super 10s Group 1 match in the T20 World Cup. This was the highest Twenty20 International chase for England.
The win keeps their chances of a spot in the semi-finals alive. They had entered the match with a loss against New Zealand. Sri Lanka had won both their matches against South Africa and the Netherlands.
The run-chase began awfully as Michael Lumb was bowled on the fifth delivery in the first over by Kulasekara for a duck. The left-handed Lumb came down the track and missed with his cross-batted shot. Moeen Ali edged his first ball straight to Sachitra Senanayake at second slip.
Alex Hales got England their first runs with textbook cover-drive to a full and wide delivery from Angelo Mathews for a four. Hales then drove the next delivery more square on the off side. It was in the air, but in the gap as well and he got consecutive fours. Hales then pulled a back of a length delivery from Kulasekara for his third four. He then played a brilliant straight drive and got his fourth four.
Lasith Malinga came into the attack in the fourth over. It was an exhibition of yorker bowling as Malinga bowled four on the trot. BUt Eoin Morgan struck a low full-toss for a four through deep mid-wicket for a four. Morgan then swept Senanayake for a four over over square-leg.
Hales struck a low full-toss from Lasith Malinga through deep mid-wicket for a four. Ajanthan Mendis was brought into the attack in the seventh over. Morgan reverse-swept a length delivery and got a four behind square on the off side. Hales took a single off Sachithra Senanayake in the eighth over and that was the 50 for England. It was also the 50-run partnership between Hales and Morgan.
The required run-rate was creeping towards 12 and Morgan tried to get some boundaries. He hit a length delivery from Mendis over the covers but only got a single. But he did swing his bat to a length delivery from Angelo Mathews and got a big six over long-on. He then cut a back of a length delivery through extra-cover for a four. Hales then flicked a straight delivery from Mathews behind square on the leg side for a four.
The 11th over bowled by Ajantha Mendis proved to be expensive as he conceded 13 runs. He bowled one full and Eoin Morgan smashed the ball for a big six over deep cover. Morgan then cut a short and wide delivery behind point for a four. Sachithra Senanayake bowled a short and wide delivery and Morgan cut the ball through cover for a four.
Hales then cut a wide delivery from Thisara Perera behind square on the off side and gets a four. The third-man fielder tried to take a diving catch, but he was just out of reach. That was the seventh half-century for Hales in T20Is. England also reached their 100 in the 13th over. Hales then smashed a waist-high full-toss from Perera for a four through extra-cover.
Mahela Jayawardene then dropped Hales at deep square-leg. Hales had pulled a back of a length delivery from Perera on the leg side. But Jayawardene drooped a dropping ball and it raced away for a four. Morgan then reached his fifth half-century with a reverse-sweep for four off Senanayake. Hales then flat-batted a length delivery from Mendis over deep mid-wicket for a six.
Hales then hit another six over deep mid-wicket in Mendis’s over. The next ball was slog-swept for a six over deep backward square-leg. He then got a four on the very next delivery through deep extra-cover.
Dinesh Chandimal brought Malinga back in the 16th over as things did not seem comfortable for Sri Lanka. Hales, though, hit a full delivery through deep mid-wicket for a four. The dew was becoming a factor as Malinga bowled a above the waist full-toss to Hales. It was called as a no-ball and Malinga got a warning. That brought up England’s 150.
Kulasekara was brought back into the attack and Morgan played a lofted on-drive. But he did not get enough distance on it as Mathews caught a comfortable catch at long-on. That ended the 152-run partnership between Hales and Morgan. The stand came at a run-rate of 9.91. Jos Buttler soon followed for two as he skied one to Chandimal at extra-cover. Kulasekara got his fourth wicket.
After some deliberation, Malinga was chosen to finish his quota in the 18th over. He bowled a yorker outside off-stump and Ravi Bopara guided the ball for a four through third-man. The next delivery as well was full and wide. Bopara repeated the shot and got the same result. Malinga then bowled a yorker and it missed the base of off-stump by a whisker. Malinga ended his four overs without a wicket and giving away 31 runs.
Hales smashed a wide delivery from Kulasekara for a six over point. That got him his first century in T20Is. The next delivery was launched over deep mid-wicket for another six. England needed seven runs off the last over, which was bowled by Mathews. Bopara got a single on the first delivery. Hales then launched one in orbit over deep mid-wicket as England won the match by six wickets.
Earlier, England captain Stuart Broad had won the toss and elected to bowl first. Sri Lanka posted a commanding 189 for four in their 20 overs. Mahela Jayawardene top-scored with a magnificent 89 and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 55 for Sri Lanka. The duo hared a 145-run partnership for the second wicket. Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan took two wickets each for England.
At the time it seemed like a big ask for England. And after a slow start where they lost two wickets in the first over itself for no runs, it was a brilliant run-chase. There were no surprises in the post-match presentation as Hales was the Man of the Match.
Sri Lanka 189 for 4 in 20 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 55, Mahela Jayawardene 89; Jade Dernbach 2 for 42, Chris Jordan 2 for 28) lost to England 190 for 4 in 19.2 overs (Alex Hales 116*, Eoin Morgan 57; Nuwan Kulasekara 4 for 32) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: Alex Hales
ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details
ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)