As the Bears prepare to face Notts Outlaws in their first home NatWest T20 Blast fixture we asked Bears analyst Stuart Key to identify the potential danger man for the opposition.
Alex Hales is a player in red-hot limited overs form. He recently scored the fastest ever one-day hundred in a Lord’s final, reaching three figures off 83 balls. Hales is a 360° player and if he gets in, he can be very destructive.
Recent International Form
His recent innings with Jonny Bairstow against South Africa, in a NatWest IT20, showcased that he can do more than just whack the ball. On a difficult surface at the Ageas Bowl, Hales kept a healthy strike rate of 123.68, scoring 47 runs from 38 balls. Boundaries were hard to come by in this innings, but intelligent batting and hard running saw the pair knock of the South Africa total and cruise home to a 9 wicket win with 5 overs to spare.
In this summer’s ICC Champions Trophy, Hales spearheaded the England batting attack while his partner Jason Roy was misfiring. Hales fired an impressive 95 runs (11 fours and 2 sixes) against Bangladesh and followed up that score with 56 runs (3 fours and 2 sixes) against New Zealand.
NatWest T20 Blast Form
England duty prevented Hales from playing in much of the NatWest T20 Blast in 2016 and he failed to make much on an impression in the tournament in the two innings he played in.
However, in the 2015 tournament Hales made a much more of a mark on the competition. From the 10 innings played, Hales scored 283 runs from 201 balls, including 26 fours and 16 sixes. Those figures saw Alex averaging 31.44 with a strike rate of 140.79. Useful figures to say the least!
If there were a chink in Alex Hales amour then it would be in the first 6 overs. If he’s allowed get himself into his innings, Hales can steamroll you. However, if you build some dots, restrict his boundaries and not let him settle, he will succumb to pressure and give the opposition opportunities to take his wicket cheaply. In 2015, 5 of his 9 wickets came in the first 6 overs at an average of just 21.60, whereas in overs 6-14 Hales’ wicket cost the opposition an average of 76 runs. Alex also likes to take advantage of the fielding restrictions and score his boundaries early on, and they make up the majority of his runs scored in the first 6 overs. However, this is maybe another opportunity to force a mistake from the Outlaws opener, as if the runs aren’t flowing Hales will want to play a big shot so all fielders should be on their toes!