CHITTAGONG (Bangladesh): Opener Alex Hales hit a sensational unbeaten hundred as England pulled off a dramatic six-wicket win over Sri Lanka to throw open the Group I for semifinals places in the ICC World Twenty20, on Thursday.
Chasing a huge 190-run target, England rode on Hales' magnificent maiden T20 hundred to overhaul the target with four balls to spare after losing two wickets for no score in the first over.
In an extraordinary display of power hitting, Hales punished the Lankan bowlers with half-a-dozen sixes and 11 boundaries as his blistering 116-run knock came off just 64 balls.
England batsman Alex Hales celebrates his century during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament cricket match vs Sri Lanka at The Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Thursday. Pic/AFP
He finished the match with a huge six off Angelo Mathews to keep England afloat in the tournament.
Sri Lanka posted a huge 189 for four as Jayawardene came up with a blistering 89-run knock while Dilshan played a perfect second fiddle with a 47-ball 55 in their huge 145-run second-wicket partnership after being invited to bat.
England, who chose to field, were guilty of dropping at least four catches.
Twice they let Jayawardene off the hook. England could not have dreamt of a worse start as they lost Michael Lumb and Moeen Ali to Nuwan Kulasekara in the very first over, without a run on the board.
However, Hales and Eoin Morgan turned the match on its head with sensational hitting as the two batsmen joined hands to rattle up a 152-run stand for the third wicket.
They batted intelligently as they steadied the ship by rotating the strike and then hammered the Lankan bowlers around the park. It all started with Ajantha Mendis' over when Hales punished the spinner with two sixes and two fours as England creamed off 25 runs in the 15th over.
The contest became an edge-of-the-seat thriller as Kulasekara returned and again took two wickets in an over. He first dismissed Morgan and then scalped Joes Buttler (2).
Hales kept playing fearlessly and completed his century with a six off Kulasekara over the cover region and hit a massive six in the next ball to send the shock-waves in the Lankan camp. They needed only seven off isx balls and Hales finished it of in style with a shot, soaring over deep midwicket into the stands.
England remain in fourth place with two points but they have played only two matches. Sri Lanka are on the top with four points from three matches, followed by South Africa (4) and New Zealand (2).
Sri Lanka's total was built around 89 by Mahela Jayawardene and 55 by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Jayawardene hit 11 boundaries and three sixes during his 51-ball knock and Dilshan smashed two sixes and four fours in his 47-ball innings as the two added 145 for the second wicket.
Jayawardene was lucky not to be out off the first ball he faced when television replays showed Lumb took a brilliant catch off Jade Dernbach.
But the on-field umpires -- Rod Tucker at the non-striker's end and Aleem Dar of Pakistan -- referred the catch to television umpire Steve Davis.
Davis, also from Australia, ruled replays were inconclusive.
That did not end England's misery as their fielders dropped as many as four catches, twice off Jayawardene on five and 82, and one off Dilshan on 21 and in the final over off Thisara Perera who made 23 not out.
England dismissed opener Kusal Perera for three in the second over.
Jayawardene smashed James Tredwell for his eighth boundary to complete his ninth half-century off just 32 balls.
He was finally bowled by Chris Jordan. Both Jordan and Dernbach picked up two wickets apiece.
Australia take on defending champions the West Indies and India face Bangladesh in Group Two in Dhaka on Friday.
Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. The final will be played in Dhaka on April 6.
T. Dilshan c Jordan b Dernbach 55
K. Perera c Buttler b Dernbach 3
M. Jayawerdene b Jordan 89
T. Perera not out 23
K. Sangakkara c Hales b Jordan 0
A. Mathews not out 11
Extras: (lb2, nb2, w4) 8
Total: (for four wkts; 20 overs) 189
Did not bat: D. Chandimal, S. Senanayake, N. Kulasekara, A. Mendis, L. Malinga.
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Perera), 2-149 (Jayawardene), 3-156 (Dilshan), 4-169 (Sangakkara)
Bowling: Ali 1-0-4-0, Dernbach 4-0-42-2 (1nb, 1w), Bresnan 4-0-48-0, Jordan 4-0-28-2 (1w), Tredwell 4-0-36-0, Broad 3-0-29-0 (1nb, 2w)
M. Lumb b Kulasekara 0
A. Hales not out 116
Moeen Ali c Senanayake b Kulasekara 0
E. Morgan c Mathews b Kulasekara 57
J. Buttler c Chandimal b Kulasekara 2
R. Bopara not out 11
Extras: (nb1, w3) 4
Total: (for four wkts; 19.2 overs) 190
Did not bat: T. Bresnan, C. Jordan, S. Broad, J. Tredwell, J. Dernbach
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Lumb), 2-0 (Ali), 3-152 (Morgan), 4-156 (Buttler)
Bowling: Kulasekara 4-1-32-4 (2w), Mathews 2.2-0-31-0, Malinga 4-0-31-0 (1nb, 1w), Senanayake 4-0-30-0, Mendis 4-0-52-0, Thisara 1-0-14-0
Result: England win by six wickets
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Rod Tucker (AUS)
Tv umpire: Steve Davis (AUS)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)