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“Pleasing that we didn’t go away from our values as a team” – Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes
ANALYST
Modified 27 Mar 2021
News

Ben Stokes is happy that his team stuck to their ultra-aggressive brand of cricket, despite a heavy defeat in the first game, as it paid them rich dividends in the second ODI against India in Pune.

The swashbuckling England all-rounder slammed a 52-ball 99, adding 175 off 113 balls with Jonny Bairstow to help his side chase down a 337-run target and level the series.

Speaking to the broadcasters after England’s remarkable win on Friday, Ben Stokes said:

“The most pleasing thing for us as a team is that we didn’t go away from our values as a team. We were bitterly disappointed in the first game with the way we played in the chase, but it was pretty clear we were going out with the same intent as we always do.

Ben Stokes continued in this regard:

“Great chase, really happy we managed to get over the line quite easily, especially when India set a challenging total. It was actually a better wicket than the (one in the) first game. Over the years, we have set big totals; we have chased big totals. We don’t really fear too much, to be honest. We go out and always try and play as positive as we can. If we ever feel like we are stuck in a situation, we always encourage our players to take the positive option.”

After a 66-run loss in the first ODI, England captain Eoin Morgan said that despite the loss, the team were not going to abandon their approach, as they preferred losing a game by that margin rather than go down by 10-20 runs.

Incidentally, the visitors won the second game with 39 balls to spare.

We speak about match-ups in our changing room: Ben Stokes

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Ben Stokes called Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow the best-opening ODI pair in the world.
Ben Stokes called Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow the best-opening ODI pair in the world.

Ben Stokes said that individual players are backed to play their natural games, saying:

“We speak about match-ups in our changing room. I decided if the spinners came on, it was my match-up to take the risk and just let Jonny Bairstow keep doing his thing. He’s in unbelievable form at the moment; you don’t need to be talking too much to him. It’s all about picking your match-ups."

Ben Stokes said that the opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy is the 'best in the world', primarily because of the rate at which they score their runs.

“The amount of runs they (Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow) have scored is obviously amazing. But if you look at the way they have scored, it makes it even better. Their strike-rate is the best in the world, in my opinion, and will be really hard to beat going forward. Having those two at the top of the order to set the tone is fantastic,” the New Zealand-born all-rounder further added.
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Ben Stokes turned the match on its head in the 31st over. At that stage, England needed over seven an over to win.

However, Kuldeep Yadav was plundered for 17 runs, and in his next over, Stokes smacked him for three consecutive sixes and amassed 20 from the over. The next over from Krunal Pandya yielded whopping 28 runs. By the end of the 34th over, the required run-rate had come down to under 4.5.

England and India play the third ODI in Pune on Sunday, with the series on the line.

Published 27 Mar 2021, 08:13 IST
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