Star England batsman Ben Stokes delivered a breathtaking performance in the third ODI against New Zealand, which took place on Wednesday, September 13, at Kennington Oval in London. The match saw New Zealand captain Tom Latham winning the toss and choosing to bowl first. Trent Boult, known for his early breakthroughs, once again showcased his prowess by taking two quick wickets.
He dismissed Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck on the very first ball of the match and then claimed Joe Root’s wicket in the 3rd over, leaving England reeling at 13/2 in 2.4 overs. In this precarious situation, Ben Stokes strode confidently to the crease. Making his third ODI appearance after reversing his retirement decision, Stokes displayed authority from the outset, applying pressure on the bowlers.
He meticulously targeted the bowlers, dispatching them to all corners of the park, ultimately achieving a scintillating century off just 76 balls, in the 30th over. This marked his fourth ODI century, a remarkable feat. As he reached this milestone, Stokes basked in the applause, raising his bat in acknowledgement before looking up to the sky to celebrate his century with deep emotion.
Watch the celebration here:
In a recent conversation with BBC Sport, Ben Stokes shed light on the circumstances surrounding his ODI comeback. He emphasized that there was no undue pressure on him and revealed his eagerness to be part of another World Cup campaign.
Sokes expressed, “The nice thing was there wasn’t any pressure put on me to make a decision quickly. Having a chance to play in another World Cup is great, but going there as world champions and trying to retain it is something that was quite appealing to me.”
He went on to explain the clarity of his position, stating, “I had to tell Jos [Buttler] that if you want to make that decision and pick me, you have to make that decision on the basis of me not bowling a ball out there. I was very clear with where I’m at with my body and what I felt I can offer the team. It was nice to know from Jos that he didn’t think too long that, even if I am just there as a batter, he’d pick me.”
Ben Stokes has established himself as the go-to player for England in crucial moments, earning the title of Player of the Match in both the 2019 ODI World Cup final and the 2022 T20 World Cup final.
His participation in the upcoming mega tournament in India is bound to significantly enhance England’s prospects on the global stage.