ICC World Twenty20: England captain Stuart Broad praises batting hero Alex Hales
Stuart Broad heaped praise on Alex Hales after his record-breaking century against Sri Lanka kept England alive.
By Joe Drabble - @SkySportsDrabs
Last Updated: 27/03/14 6:44pm
Hales smashed six sixes and 11 fours in an unbeaten 116 as England pulled off their biggest successful chase in the shortest format in Thursday's must-win Group One clash in Chittagong.
Nottinghamshire right-hander Hales is the first Englishman to reach three figures in Twenty20 internationals after falling one run short against the West Indies in 2012 and captain Broad believes the innings is up there with the very best he's witnessed.
He said: "That was a very special knock, one of the best I've seen in an England shirt. To take responsibility and keep up with the run-rate that we had, to keep up with that and win with a few balls to spare is very special.
"It's the best we've seen in an England shirt this winter because it was match-winning. The calmness he showed to keep England up with the rate all the way through and then the skill he showed to clear the ropes at the end.
"I've seen some special knocks in Test cricket but in a World Cup on the biggest stage, in conditions that are a little bit foreign to us it's one of the best knocks I've ever seen."
England have two Group One games remaining against South Africa and Netherlands and two more victories should see Broad's men progress to the semi-final stage.
"We know that World Cups are all about momentum at the right time and that knock by Hales and Morgs (Eoin Morgan, who made 57) will give our changing room a lot of belief," added Broad.
"We've got to win both games and I believe we can do that. The confidence and belief we'll get from today is massive and this group is wide open."
An England victory looked unlikely at the halfway stage after four dropped catches and a missed run out had allowed Sri Lanka to post 189-4 batting first.
Speaking on England's shoddy fielding display, Broad believes the heavy dew made the ball difficult to grip, for both bowlers and fielders.
The 27-year-old added: "I don't want to make excuses but we really messed up dropping five or six catches, and key men, but the ball wasn't going in the hand well, it was really slippery and something we weren't used to.
"We can't afford to drop key players but we got away with it today and we'll need to raised our standards for the next game."