Alex Hales says his England return in Tuesday’s T20 victory against Pakistan “felt like a debut again”, as he produced a match-winning performance at the top of the order to provide a timely reminder of his talents (England 4/6, Pakistan 6/5 – Series Winner).
After being dropped from the national side ahead of the 2019 World Cup for what was described by the England and Wales Cricket Board as an “off-field incident”, it seemed like Hales’ chances of representing the Three Lions again were over.
However, after a loss of form for Jason Roy and an injury to Jonny Bairstow, the 33-year-old was recalled to the squad for the current series in Pakistan and the T20 World Cup in Australia, which runs from October 16 – November 13.
Named in the side for Tuesday’s first T20 at the National Stadium, Karachi, Hales took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him as he top-scored with 53 to guide England to a six-wicket victory.
Harry Brook also impressed with the bat, ending up unbeaten on 42, with the successful chase coming after Pakistan were restricted to 158-7 from their allotted 20 overs.
Debutant Luke Wood put his hand up for a regular starting place with brilliant figures of 3-24, while spin king Adil Rashid also looked sharp as he took 2-27 with an economy rate of 6.75.
The victory was achieved without captain Jos Buttler, who is still out of action with injury, and there is real optimism around this England side ahead of the T20 World Cup, which they are 4/1 to win.
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England are back in action in the second T20 at the National Stadium on Thursday (15:30 start) and it will be interesting to see whether any tweaks are made to the starting XI to give others in the squad a chance to impress.
Jordan Cox, Liam Dawson, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are all part of the squad and it is thought a couple of those will come into the side.
England are EVS to win Thursday’s encounter and move 2-0 up in the series, while Pakistan are the marginal 4/5 favourites to hit back and level the scores.
Rashid is 16/5 to be the Three Lions’ top wicket taker in the second T20, while Luke Wood is 18/5 and Richard Gleeson is priced at 4/1.
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