The Rise of Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes - the name immediately evokes a dismal picture of a player who was defending a modest total of 19 runs in the final over of the summit clash of the ICC World T20 World Cup against West Indies but whose dreams were shattered by Carlos Brathwaite. The burly all-rounder, with his batting exploits, smashed four consecutive sixes in that over to win the Cup for the West Indies in 2016.
Eden Gardens presented Stokes with a heartbreak that one would carry for a lifetime, a feeling that he was the sole reason that England finished on the wrong side of the result. Any other player would succumb to the feeling of a huge loss, but Stokes kept on making comebacks.
His two stints as part of the Indian Premier League with the Rising Pune Supergiants and Rajasthan Royals added a different perspective to his game. In 2017, Stokes enjoyed a fantastic year as he piled up 616 runs from 15 matches at an average of 61.60 and also picked up 14 wickets.
In 2018, Stokes enjoyed yet another top calendar year as he notched up 313 runs from 10 innings but had a poor show with the ball, picking up just five wickets throughout the year. In the lead up to the World Cup, Stokes has already amassed 343 from eight innings at an average of 57.17 and will play a key role in the England team for the current World Cup.
Stokes made a massive impact in England's opening encounter as he scored a brilliant 79-ball 89* and then returned to finish with figures of 2/12 from his 2.5 overs. However, what was the stand out moment was Stokes' blinder at mid-wicket, a reverse-cupped airborne catch that was termed as the 'catch of the decade' by many fans and pundits alike.
With the burly all-rounder proving his worth and in style, England's cricket could only go upwards and on a personal level, Stokes will be high on confidence. It is motivating and delightful to see Ben Stokes rising like a phoenix amongst the ashes to deliver effortlessly, justifying his tremendous talent and could well have a major say in his team's chances in this World Cup.
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