Alex Hales relishing shot at redemption after blasting England to T20 World Cup final

Opener enjoys 'one of the best nights' of his career following unbeaten 86 in crushing 10-wicket win over India in Adelaide

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Had Jonny Bairstow not slipped on a tee-box playing golf, and had Eoin Morgan not swapped his cricket bat for a commentary microphone, Alex Hales would not be at the T20 World Cup.

And yet he is now one match away from a winner’s medal after playing a show-stopping role in taking England to Sunday’s final against Pakistan in Melbourne.

Hales made 86 not out, and shared in a record-breaking 170 run opening partnership with Jos Buttler, as England thrashed India by 10 wickets in Adelaide.

After accepting the player of the match award, he acknowledged it had been one of his finest moments – and one he had doubted would come his way again.

“I never thought I would get to play in a World Cup again,” said Hales, who was suspended by England for a failed recreational drug test ahead of the 2019 50-over version, which they went on to win.

“To get the chance is a very special feeling, in a country that I love and that I have spent a lot of time in, so tonight is one of the best nights of my career.”

England’s crushing dominance was remarkable. Thanks to a half-century by Virat Kohli and a late-overs assault by Hardik Pandya India managed to post 168-6 from their 20 overs.

It was scarcely even a challenge as England sauntered to the target with four overs to spare. Buttler hit three sixes in his 80 not out, while Hales managed seven in his unbeaten knock.

“This is one of the best grounds to bat at in the world, especially in the Powerplays,” Hales said. “It is a really good surface where you get value for good cricket shots with the square boundaries. It is a ground I have good memories of, and a ground I enjoy batting at.”

Buttler, the captain, praised his opening partner for the way he has seized his chance after being recalled to the side after three years out.

“He's delivered in spades,” Buttler said of a player who was left out for the remaining three years of the captaincy tenure of his predecessor Morgan.

“He's immensely tough to bowl at. It was fantastic to be at the other end and watch him go about his business.

“He has such a wide range of shots, and with the dimensions of the ground, he played them fantastically well.”

Rohit Sharma, the India captain, said he felt his side had posted a defendable total, but they “did not turn up with the ball”.

“We batted pretty well at the back end to get to that score,” Rohit said.

“We were not good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team should come and chase [a total like that] in 16 overs. With the ball, we just didn’t turn up today.”

Rahul Dravid, India’s coach, also accepted the batting had fallen short of the high standards it had set previously in the tournament, most notably with their slow start.

“Even in these conditions, [we have been] scoring 180, 180 plus. So we were playing well. When the game started, the boys were saying [the pitch] was a little bit tacky, it was a little bit slower.

“Having said that, they bowled really well. I thought they were really good up front. They hit really good lengths, didn't really let us get away.

“I think Hardik out there was absolutely brilliant. In the end it looked like we were a lot shorter than even 15 or 20 runs, but I think we should have been able to get to 180, 185 on that wicket.

“Maybe things might have been different with an early wicket after that.”

Updated: November 10, 2022, 1:36 PM
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