NZ v Eng Ben Stokes

Published on February 28th, 2018 | by Suraj Choudhari

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The magic of Ben Stokes

🕓 Reading time: 3 minutes

“England are one of the favourites going into the 2019 World Cup, which is scheduled to be played in their backyard. This is their best shot to win the coveted trophy, they have the side and potential to achieve so. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that Stokes will have a key role to play if England are eyeing to win the World Cup”.

It is often said, an all-rounder is precious, and an impactful one is no less than gold in any format of the game. Not all the teams are blessed to have an effective all-rounder in their line-up. In this batsmen-dominated-game, he is the man that makes a world lot of difference. He brings stability and provides that extra option, which is crucial, very crucial in contemporary cricket.

Ben Stokes’ cricket journey hasn’t been a sweet one in the recent times. After that brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol, he missed out on the Ashes and safe enough to say, that England paid the price. Many believed that Stokes was going to be the key for England Down Under, but his absence left a big hole in the English line-up. He belongs to that rare breed of all-rounders, who are equally effective across formats. Not every all-rounder is well equipped to replicate his magic across formats, but that is certainly not the case with Stokes.

Stokes can score those daddy hundreds against the red ball, anchor an innings in ODIs and launch a blitzkrieg in the shortest format of the game. With the ball, Stokes has always been an impactful customer in every format. He can bowl those marathon spells and has a knack for catching the big fish. He may not look very intimidating but is certainly very effective. He is astute when it comes to putting in the hard yards, quite capable of producing those wicket-taking deliveries. He can produce a wicket or two out of nowhere and turn the game on its head.

In the ongoing One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand, Stokes made a comeback at Hamilton after five months. He didn’t have a great day with the bat but did chip two crucial wickets with the ball to pull things back for England, but that wasn’t enough as New Zealand snatched a crucial victory.

Coming to Mount Maunganui, the onus of making a comeback was on England and had to come out hard in order to square the series. Stokes did well in having two wickets under this belt as New Zealand were dismantled for a modest 223. The target wasn’t daunting at all, but one could have expected New Zealand bowlers to spring a surprise.

England got off to a shaky start, losing two wickets inside 10 overs. At 86 for 3 in the 16th over, they needed a quiet partnership to stabilise the ship. Another wicket would have steered New Zealand to a commanding position and tightened the noose around England. Eoin Morgan ad Stokes needed to build an innings and set the platform for the explosive middle-order to capitalise on.

The duo accounted for 88 runs between them and safe enough to say, brought England to the brink of a much-needed win. Stokes played his natural game and attacked quite often for his unbeaten 63 of 74 deliveries. With the help of seven boundaries and a solitary six down the ground, Stokes was also the highest run-scorer for England and walked away with the Player of the Match award.

When Morgan and Stokes got going, the target looked like a cakewalk for England. They played some good cricket and looked extremely comfortable in the run-chase. The stage is now set for a thrilling series, with both the teams being evenly poised after two games and looking hungry for success.

Talking about Stokes, this was just another example of how crucial he is to this England side. He is a match-winner and can win games single-handedly for England. He is the X-factor for England and has proved his worth. Stokes didn’t play a lot of competitive cricket in the last five months, he had a lot of barriers to overcome. Yes, he looked a bit rusty int he series opener, but it was only about time before the southpaw rediscovered his mojo.

England are one of the favourites going into the 2019 World Cup, which is scheduled to be played in their backyard. This is their best shot to win the coveted trophy, they have the side and potential to achieve so. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that Stokes will have a key role to play if England are eyeing to win the World Cup. He is one of a kind cricketer and a genius in his own way. As of now, this outing should boost his confidence for good and his initial goal would be to win the ODI series for England.

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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