Ben Stokes batted ten times in the 2019 World Cup and scored five half centuries. He began the campaign with an 89 off 79 balls against South Africa and followed it up with two gritty knocks under pressure against Sri Lanka and Australia - 82* and 89. A 54-ball 79 against India came when England were in search of quick runs in the back end of the innings.
But the best of the five half-centuries came when it mattered the most – in the World Cup finals at Lord's with his team staring down the barrel at 86/4 chasing 242. Combining with Jos Buttler, Stokes put on a 110-run stand that put England in the driving seat.
But much like in the matches against Australia and Sri Lanka, Stokes was running out of partners and the onus was on Stoke to take England through.
With 24 needed in two overs, Stokes smashed a six off Jimmy Neesham and another in the final over off Trent Boult. A lucky deflection off the fourth ball of the final over earned Stokes six more and he completed two singles off the final two balls to tie the match.
In the Super Over, Stokes scored eight off the 15 runs England made as they set the Black Caps a stiff target which they nearly scaled but lost out on boundary count.
Stokes had been England's most influential lower middle order batsman in the build up to the World Cup. From positions 5-7 in ODIs in the period after the 2015 World Cup, Stokes has made 2282 runs in 68 ODIs at an average of 48.55, a strike rate in the high 90s with three hundreds and 18 half-centuries.
Though Buttler has been the more hailed middle-order batsman, Stokes has matched him, if not exceeed, on all counts.
At the World Cup, he showed his value in this England side under immense pressure, not once but thrice. In the matches against Sri Lanka and Australia too, England's famed batting line-up had collapsed and Stokes came to their rescue with two fine 80s.
The England all-rounder has shown his tenacity in tough situations right from the onset of his career. In just his second Test match at Perth against a quality Australian pace attack led by the fiery Mitchell Johnson, Stokes hit a brilliant 120. In the World Cup final on Sunday, though, the pressure was manifolds higher, the stakes even bigger.
Stokes rose to the occasion yet again and delivered for England. No batsman has made more runs from the lower middle-order (positions 5-7) in this World Cup than Stokes. The England all-rounder has 465 runs in 11 matches at an average of 66.43 and a strike rate of 93.18. Alex Carey, who had a wonderful tournament for Australia, comes second.
Stokes also picked 7 wickets at 35.14 and was the second-most restrictive bowler for England in the tournament with an economy of just 4.83.
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