Alex Hales ends England’s opening debate ahead of the World Cup with a bounding slam against Australia | cricket news

Alex Hales went 84-for-51 in England’s win over Australia in the series-opening T20 in Perth; he now he will get the “first crack” in the opening with Jos Buttler in the T20 World Cup- follow England’s second T20 against Australia on Wednesday (9.10am UK time) with our live blog

Last update: 09/10/22 15:44

Alex Hales' half-century appears to have signed him into England's T20 World Cup first XI

Alex Hales’ half-century appears to have signed him into England’s T20 World Cup first XI

If there was ever any doubt that Alex Hales would start for England in the T20 World Cup, that has now been removed after he hit Australia’s attack in Perth.

When the team lines up for the opening game of the tournament against Afghanistan at the same venue on October 22, it seems certain that Hales and Jos Buttler will be on top, with the pair looking to replicate what they achieved at Optus Stadium on Sunday in a opening match. society of 132 of 68 balls.

There was never any doubt that Buttler, fitness permitting, would be in England’s top two and he showed his command of the cue ball by going 68 from 32 on his first shot since August after overcoming a calf problem.

But the appearance of Phil Salt, who hit England’s highest individual score of 88 from 41 balls in the recent 4-3 T20I triumph in Pakistan, had put pressure on Hales and suggested it was not a given that the now reinstated Nottinghamshire slugger It would be in the World XI in England.

It seems like a given now after he pumped out 84 of 51 deliveries – an inning that contained 12 fours and three sixes – and continued his love affair with Australian conditions.

Hales has plenty of experience Down Under, racking up more than 1,800 runs in the 60 innings of his Big Bash League career with a strike rate of more than 150.

That was the main reason his three-year exile for off-field reasons came to an end once Jonny Bairstow, the man who would start Buttler at the World Cup, was ruled out after an early fall on a field. Yorkshire golf course which resulted in a broken leg.

Hales is back in the England side after being knocked out ahead of the 2019 World Cup by what then-captain Eoin Morgan called 'a total collapse in confidence'

Hales is back in the England side after being knocked out ahead of the 2019 World Cup by what then-captain Eoin Morgan called ‘a total collapse in confidence’

Of Hales’ World Cup start, Buttler said: “Things change quickly in the sport, but he gets the first chance, at the minute.

“It was a really tough decision, we spent a lot of time discussing it and thinking about it. It was really only Alex’s record in Australia that put him ahead.”

“He’s settled in really well and played fantastically well here. He’s a really destructive player, he accesses all areas of the pitch and he’s intimidating bowling.”

In his temporary role as pundit, Bairstow used words like “clinic” and “exhibit” to describe the unrestrained opening position between Buttler and Hales, with 22 boundaries in their partnership altogether. Buttler went 50-for-25, Hales was a bit slower on 29 shots.

Hales dubbed Buttler the “best white ball player in the world” during a halftime chat with the host announcer, but Hales is a fearsome proposition in his own right. Tall and with long levers, he can find the fence and actually crush you, even when he doesn’t make the center of the ball.

There were some hacked limits on Sunday, with top rims, inner rims and away from the sweetest connections that won him races.

But there were also crisp sixs over the heads of Daniel Sams and Marcus Stoinis, a tight four from Cameron Green over coverage and delicate placement as he stroked Nathan Ellis to the edge of the point back.

Hales looks as much at home on Australian bouncy courts as he does on his home turf, Trent Bridge.

Hales in England’s T20 side seems to work. He was the first player to score a T20 international ton for the men’s team (his 116 shutouts against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains his highest score in the format) and has been involved in the four highest T20I opening partnerships of all time. time.

Sunday’s save with Buttler ranks second on that list, trailing only the unbeaten 143 he and Michael Lumb achieved against New Zealand in Wellington in February 2013.

So Hales has racked up the T20 milestones for England, but Ben Stokes hasn’t, except for the unwanted one of never going over fifty for his country in the format after a nine against Australia.

There are caveats to that, with Stokes’ previous T20 International appearance in March 2021, plus the fact that he had only batted in the top three three times before this match.

When he trotted out on the first drop on Sunday, there was no real time for him to settle. The sight of Stokes heading to the wicket instead of the usual No. 3 Dawid Malan showed the plan was to hit Australia harder and build on the fast. beginning given by Hales and Buttler.

Stokes couldn’t handle that, with his innings containing so many dropped catches and chin strikes (Stokes clocked under the grid after missing a reverse sweep attempt) as limits. The four solitaires of him leaned rather than in the middle before holing long.

Ben Stokes hit a nine-ball scratchy nine in his first T20I appearance since March 2021

Ben Stokes hit a nine-ball scratchy nine in his first T20I appearance since March 2021

The left-hander was bound to be rusty as he hasn’t played a tackle since England’s last Summer Test against South Africa in mid-September and hasn’t played a cue ball since making five in his one-day international retirement against Proteas in July.

Getting the best out of Stokes has been seen as key if England want to go deeper into this T20 World Cup and the slot they have allocated is number 4, as opposed to the opening role in which he crushed a tonne of IPLs in 2020 and number 5 / Berth nº 6 where its impact has previously been limited in T20s.

Stokes is such a talented and cerebral player that he will probably make it work – No. 4, on paper, seems perfect for him as he can take over the game if needed, but also assesses and tries to fix the situation if the wickets drop. the power play, just as they did in England’s three defeats in Pakistan.

England are still looking to maximize Stokes in this format, while knowing full well how to get the best out of Hales. Take it upstairs and let it loose.

He missed out on his nation’s Stokes-inspired 50+ World Cup triumph in 2019, but now could be crucial in their quest for the T20 silver medal.

Follow England’s three-match T20I series in Australia on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. Our live blog of the second game, in Canberra, will start at 8.45am on Wednesday before kicking off at 9.10am Then watch every T20 World Cup game live on Sky Sports from Sunday 16th October .

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