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England vs New Zealand : 3rd ODI
England vs New zealand : England scored 368 runs in their innings, with Stokes leading the way with 182 runs, supported by Malan’s 96. New Zealand, on the other hand, managed only 187 runs in response. Phillips was the top scorer for New Zealand with 72 runs. England secured a convincing victory with a margin of 181 runs, thanks to excellent performances from Livingstone, who took 3 wickets for 16 runs, and Woakes, who also took 3 wickets, conceding 31 runs.
Ben Stokes, after a 14-month hiatus from ODI cricket, left no room for doubt about his readiness to re-enter the 50-over format. In a stunning display of skill and determination at the Kia Oval, Stokes not only smashed his fourth ODI century off just 76 balls but also set a new record for the highest score in this format by an Englishman, amassing a staggering 182 runs from 124 deliveries. His heroic performance paved the way for England’s commanding victory over New Zealand.
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A Rocky Start Turned Brilliant:
Stokes walked onto the field in the third over with England reeling at 13 for 2, facing the swing of Trent Boult. However, he soon formed a crucial third-wicket partnership with Dawid Malan, lasting 199 runs in 165 balls. Stokes launched a relentless attack on Lockie Ferguson, plundering 56 runs off the 30 deliveries he faced from him. This onslaught kickstarted his innings and set the tone for what was to come.
Stokes’ Aggressive Approach:
Stokes began his innings aggressively, charging down the pitch and positioning himself outside leg stump to create space for his shots. With 13 runs off 19 balls, he started to take on Ferguson, smashing three boundaries in four balls during Ferguson’s second over. From thereon, he maintained a similar tempo, mixing calculated singles with powerful shots into the stands. One memorable shot was a skip-down-and-swing that landed in the second tier of the Pavilion, off Glenn Phillips’ bowling.
A Display of Power-Hitting:
Despite battling a knee injury, Stokes chose to stand and deliver, crushing a total of nine sixes, including six in his final 31 balls. His audacious attempt to hit a tenth six led to his dismissal, but the crowd erupted in applause, acknowledging his immense contribution to England’s cause. The spectators were left with renewed hope that Stokes could inspire England to defend their World Cup title in India.
After the game, Stokes shared his thoughts on his comeback, stating, “It’s good to come back after a while out and put a big contribution into us winning the game. Today was good for me personally, just to get familiarity again with how 50-over cricket goes. We lost a few quick wickets, and I wanted to go out and put them under a bit of pressure.”
He also mentioned, “There were a couple of times I had to check myself because I looked up and there were still 23-24 overs left… you have way more time than you think. I didn’t really know [about the record] until the bloke on the tannoy announced it – then I got out next ball. There were a couple of stages where I was scoring quite freely and felt like I wanted to keep going and going and going… in 50-over cricket, we always want to go out and put on big scores but [it was a case of] realizing how much more time I had.”
England’s Convincing Victory:
New Zealand’s attempt to chase down 369 quickly turned into a one-sided affair. Chris Woakes was exceptional, claiming 3 for 31 in his eight-over spell, which effectively sealed the game for England. Glenn Phillips, who made 72, was the lone Kiwi batter to cross the 30-run mark, as New Zealand folded for 187.
Malan’s Vital Contribution:
While Stokes stole the limelight, Dawid Malan’s return from paternity leave was equally crucial. His 96 off 95 balls showcased his talent and adaptability. Malan’s performance suggests he may open alongside Jonny Bairstow in the World Cup, potentially edging out Jason Roy due to Roy’s fitness issues.
A Shift in England’s Approach:
Following their victory at the Ageas Bowl, England emphasized a more positive and aggressive approach. Malan and Stokes exemplified this approach with a 100-run partnership in just 15.1 overs. Malan, in particular, aggressively attacked the new ball, providing England with a strong platform.
Missed Opportunities for England:
Despite their strong start, England couldn’t capitalize fully, falling short of the 400-plus score they seemed poised to achieve. Jos Buttler’s brief innings of 38 off 24 was a glimmer of brilliance, but Stokes’ dismissal triggered a late-order collapse. Trent Boult, New Zealand’s standout bowler, claimed a remarkable five-for in the process.
New Zealand’s Bowling Challenges:
New Zealand faced challenges with their bowling attack, with key players like Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi unavailable. This forced them to rely on allrounders Phillips and Rachin Ravindra for spin, while Kyle Jamieson and Ben Lister couldn’t make an impact with the ball.
A Resounding Victory for England:
In summary, Ben Stokes’ remarkable comeback and record-breaking innings ensured England’s resounding victory over New Zealand. Stokes’ aggressive yet calculated approach and his powerful hitting left a lasting impression, setting the stage for England’s defense of their World Cup title in India.
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