Sydney Thunder star Alex Hales is relishing two more chances to bat at the Adelaide Oval in the next two days after his magnificent century at the same venue against the Sixers.
Hales’ innings of 110 from 56 balls was the key to the Thunder’s 46-run win over the Sixers in the South Australian capital on Friday night.
And with the Thunder returning to Adelaide Oval for back-to-back matches against the Strikers on Sunday and Monday, English opener Hales is eyeing off more match-defining innings
“It’s a really good place to bat, Adelaide Oval, so to make a big score there is really pleasing,” Hales said.
“It’s a ground I’ve played a lot of cricket at and have really fond memories from, so when you get yourself in there, the outfield’s quick, the square boundaries are fairly small, you can really go on and push for those big scores.”
Hales said the key to him posting another big innings on Sunday was to ensure he “started again”.
“I’ve got to make sure my mindset is that I’m on zero again. I don’t want to walk out there like I’m on 110,” he said.
“You have to assess the conditions, see if there’s anything that’s changed and build from scratch again.”
The Thunder can guarantee themselves a finals berth with one win in their next two matches, while two victories over the Strikers would almost certainly end Adelaide’s hopes of finishing in the top five.
“Adelaide are a very strong team so for sure we’ll be looking to win both of these games and hopefully dent their chances,” Hales said.
Hales believes he’s in the career-best form and the right frame of mind to nail a last chance England recall.
A memorable night for @AlexHales1 and the @ThunderBBL! #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/QbX0HvnmRW
“This is definitely the best I have played, the peak of my career, 32 now. Feel like I know my game really well. I am just looking to impress whenever I get the chance,” said Hales.
However, Hales won’t be waiting by the phone for a call from England selectors ahead of next month’s T20 tour of India despite leading the BBL run scoring with 462 runs at a strike rate of 165.
White-ball specialist Hales’ 60th and previous appearance for England was against the West Indies in the Caribbean during March, 2019. Off field indiscretions cost Hales a spot in England’s triumphant 2019 World Cup unit and he’s been on the outer with England management since.
“I have no idea. At the moment I am not thinking about it. I am enjoying myself and cricket. If that is the end result, brilliant,” said Hales, adding a decision to ‘avoid social media’ was proving productive.
“I really just want to focus on enjoying my cricket, contributing to winning teams. If I get another crack at internationals, great. If not, I will keep on enjoying my cricket.”
Match-hardened Hales’ strike-power would boost England’s chances of toppling a talent packed India on the subcontinent next month. England skipper Eoin Morgan is on record as saying Hales must win trust back inside the national set-up but it could be time to bring the big opener back in from the cold.
Hales says focusing on “white ball skills” since 2018 has paid off with 576 runs last BBL campaign behind only Marcus Stoinis (705) and 26 sixes this summer.
The Thunder jumped to third with a bonus point win against the Sixers and can cement a top three finals berth with consecutive wins against Jason Gillespie’s Adelaide Strikers on Sunday and Monday.
“To go on and make a really big score is very pleasing and it is a crucial time in the tournament. Hopefully, we can take that forward into the next few games, hopefully get on a roll and qualify for finals,” Hales said.
“I am not complaining at all. It is the Strikers home ground but an awesome place to play cricket.”
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