Alex Hales
He played 156 games for England across formats.

England and Sri Lanka kept alive their semifinals hopes at the T20 World Cup with crucial wins on Tuesday.

England ended New Zealand’s undefeated record by 20 runs.

Earlier at the Gabba, Sri Lanka rekindled its slim hopes by eliminating Afghanistan by six wickets.

New Zealand still leads their group on run rate from England and Australia. On Friday, the Black Caps face Ireland, and Australia plays Afghanistan. England and Sri Lanka meet on Saturday.

Jos Buttler and Alex Hales gave England a terrific start with 81 runs in 62 balls. Hales posted 52 off 30 deliveries with seven fours and a six, while Buttler top-scored with 73 in 47 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

However, New Zealand fought back to subdue England at the finish, taking four wickets for 23 runs in the space of 14 deliveries.

England made 179-6 and the target of 180 proved to be sufficient on a two-paced pitch that slowed down considerably.

Fast bowler Mark Wood sent down some unplayable deliveries constantly above 150 kph. He also claimed the fastest ball of the tournament when a delivery to Glenn Phillips was clocked at 154.7 kph.

Phillips gave New Zealand a chance.

After a brilliant century against Sri Lanka on Saturday, Phillips threatened to snatch the momentum and Moeen Ali didn’t help England’s cause when he put down the dangerous batter on 15.

But with 49 runs gettable from 18 deliveries, Phillips tried to clear medium-pacer Sam Curran over long on but was caught inside the ropes by substitute fielder Chris Jordan. Phillips’ 62 came off 36 balls with four fours and three sixes.

New Zealand fell short at 159-6 and Curran and Chris Woakes took two wickets apiece to complement Woods.

Wanindu Hasaranga claimed 3-13 as Sri Lanka restricted Afghanistan to 144-8. The legspinner is the leading wicket-taker in the competition with 13.

Sri Lanka wasn’t really tested in its run chase to 148-4. Dhananjaya de Silva posted a half-century, his first since January 2020.

De Silva and Kusal Mendis shared a 34-run stand for the second wicket as Sri Lanka got off to a good start. Sri Lanka badly needed it after losing four wickets for eight runs in its previous game inside four overs. Mendis needed nine deliveries to get off the mark but finished on 25 off 27.

De Silva was dropped on 39 by Gulbadin Naib as he failed to hold on to a return catch. He scored the winning runs, an elegant cover drive for four off Fazalhaq Farooqi to finish unbeaten on 66, his career-best score. De Silva faced 42 balls and hit six fours and two sixes.

Sri Lanka won with nine deliveries to spare.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa walked in with Sri Lanka needing 45 in 39 deliveries and played a cameo with 18 from 13, including three fours.

Afghanistan may not have star legspinner Rashid Khan for its last group match against Australia. He limped off the pitch after hurting his knee while fielding.

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