Thursday, September 14, 2023
Ben Stokes put on a cricketing masterclass on Wednesday, notching up an astonishing 182 runs, setting a new record for England in one-day internationals (ODIs).
The remarkable performance paved the way for England's emphatic victory over New Zealand at The Oval, sending a clear warning to their World Cup rivals just weeks ahead of the 50-over tournament in India.
England found themselves in a tight spot at 13-2 after Trent Boult's quick double strike early in the innings. However, Stokes, alongside Dawid Malan, came to the rescue with a third-wicket partnership that yielded 199 runs, helping England recover to a formidable total of 368 all out.
While Stokes dazzled with his exceptional innings, Boult stood tall for New Zealand, claiming a remarkable 5-51 in 9.1 overs. England seemed poised for an even bigger total at 348-5 when Stokes was finally dismissed. Nevertheless, the home side lost their last five wickets for a mere 20 runs, and Boult wrapped up the innings with 11 balls to spare.
England's bowlers, led by Chris Woakes (3-31), then made life difficult for New Zealand, reducing them to 37-4. Glenn Phillips offered some resistance with a quick 72, but Liam Livingstone (3-16) sealed the deal when he had Ben Lister stumped, and New Zealand were all out for 187.
Earlier in the match, Boult got things rolling for New Zealand by dismissing Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root early on. However, Stokes, who had recently come out of retirement from ODIs, put on a spectacular show, smashing 15 fours and nine sixes in his 124-ball innings, surpassing Jason Roy's previous England record of 180.
Despite his stunning performance, there was a cause for concern as Stokes occasionally grimaced in pain due to a persistent knee problem, which he hopes to manage throughout the World Cup.
While Boult kept troubling England's top order, Dawid Malan, making a comeback after missing a match for the birth of his son, contributed a vital 52-ball fifty to solidify his place in the World Cup squad.
Stokes displayed his power by taking 15 runs off a single Lockie Ferguson over, featuring three fours, and hoisting spinner Rachin Ravindra for three towering sixes. However, he fell just after breaking Roy's record with a six, caught off Lister's delivery.