Alex Hales was left delighted after becoming the first English batsman to score a Twenty20 international century during an important six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Chittagong. The Nottinghamshire right-hander produced one of the best innings seen at the World Twenty20, coming in with England 0-2 and guiding the team to their target of 190 with just four deliveries left.
Knowing victory was essential to keeping their hopes alive in the Super 10s stage, England did everything to try and throw their chance away by dropping a string of catches as Sri Lanka posted a substantial total of 189-4 from their 20 overs, with Dilshan and Jayawardene posting half-centuries after being dropped early in their innings.
Any hope England had of victory appeared to have been lost when Michael Lumb and Moeen Ali both fell to Kulasekara for ducks, leaving Stuart Broad’s men two wickets down without scoring. Hales and Eoin Morgan had different ideas, however, putting on a sensational 152 run partnership to put England in a strong position heading into the final five overs. Morgan fell in the 16th over, though, soon followed by Jos Butter, leaving Hales and Ravi Bopara to navigate a tense final three overs.
Despite the presence of Malinga firing in his toe-crushers, Hales showed little signs of any nerves as he neared his century, reaching triple figures with a huge six and going on to hit the winning runs in the same fashion, rewarding Betfair fans who backed England for the win.
After controversially losing their opening match of the tournament to New Zealand, England now know that wins against South Africa and the Netherlands should guarantee their passage into the semi-final stage of the tournament. With Hales in this sort of form, it certainly makes the English a much more attractive option for cricket betting fans.