Chittagong, Bangladesh (4E Sports) – Opener Alex Hales hammered an unbeaten 116 as England kept its ICC World Twenty20 Group One alive with a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka Thursday at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Hales, who made an unbeaten 116 off 64 balls, hit a six to bring up his hundred and wrap up England’s first win in the tournament with four balls to spare.
Hales hit five sixes and 11 fours to become the first Englishman to hit an international century in the shortest format of the game while Eoin Morgan made 57 off 38 balls after coming to the crease with the score at 0-2 at the end of the first over.
The left-hander helped add 152 for the third wicket before leaving it to Hales, who finished the match with a maximum over deep square leg for England.
Mahela Jayawardene struck 89 off 51 deliveries in Sri Lanka’s 189-4.
England remained fourth in the five-team group, having played one game fewer than the top two – Sri Lanka and South Africa – with matches against the Proteas and the Netherlands to come.
Recording their highest successful run-chase in T20 history was even more impressive considering a disappointing performance in the field which saw the 2012 runners-up post a formidable total.
England, who won the toss, made an ideal start when Jade Dernbach had dangerous Kusal Perera caught down the leg side in the second over and appeared to have Jayawardene caught at cover by a diving Michael Lumb for a golden duck.
Despite television replays appearing to show a clean catch, third umpire Steve Davis ruled that the ball did not carry and Jayawardene was reprieved.
Playing a typically aesthetically pleasing innings, Jayawardene dominated a second-wicket partnership of 145 with Tillakaratne Dilshan (55), but was given further reprieves when he was dropped by Dernbach and Tim Bresnan on 19 and 80 respectively.
England’s reply got off to the worst possible start when Lumb was bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara and Moeen edged the next ball to second slip.
However, Hales, whose previous highest T20 international score was 99, and Morgan slowly set about the chase with calculated aplomb.