England finally got a few things right in their big win over the Netherlands in their Cricket World Cup semi-final in Pune on Wednesday. As in their win over Bangladesh earlier in the tournament, Dawid Malan stepped up, but this time it was a special effort from Ben Stokes that went a long way to defining England’s victory.
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With England coming into the game having been knocked out of the World Cup, all that was left for them to do was show off their pride, and fight for a place in the 2025 Champions Cup.
World Cup 2023: Ben Stokes century powers England to 160-run win over Netherlands, stay in Champions Trophy race
Ben Stokes scored his first World Cup debut during the England vs Netherlands match in Pune
Throughout the tournament, what England lacked was batting firepower, and even on Wednesday, there was little from the reigning champions as far as batting was concerned, except for a special knock from their main man Ben Stokes .
Ben Stokes saved England
Earlier, Malan had set the stage for a big total with a 74-ball 87 and was dismissed in the 22n.dit was up to Stokes to do the rest.
Stokes came in at number four, with the England score reading 133/2. But with his middle-order partners quickly dismissed, England slumped to 192/6 in the 36 overs.th. A total of 300 people appeared at the time, but Stokes had other plans.
Stokes was initially cautious with his approach, collecting heads and twos with a few clips and pulls here and there. But, he soon got into a rhythm and collected his first boundary in the 25th overth over with a direct clinical drive out Bas de Leede. Stokes pulled Leede behind square again for another boundary in the 29th overth, but then the borders would soon begin to dry up. This was at a time when England were half down, so Stokes had to play carefully.
He had Moeen Ali at the other end, but Moeen (4) would end up making little impact.
It was when Chris Woakes walked into bat at number eight that the entire dynamic of the game would change.
Stokes survived a dismissal in the 43rd overrd when Aryan Dutt dropped him at the boundary ropes, but not long after, Stokes switched gears to a more aggressive approach.
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Stokes would hit his fifty in 58 balls, and in the second half of his knock, we know more about Stokes. Except, this knock came a little too late as England had already been knocked out of the World Cup. However, what remains important is that England are still among the contenders in the hunt for the 2025 Champions Cup, but it will not be easy and they needed something special.
Dutt would be punished for his costly fall. And bowled to Stokes in the 45thth over, the latter would go on to remove the last ball in the second ball of the over, to collect a boundary, before hoicking over deep midwicket for a maximum off the next ball.
The misery does not end there for Dutt. In what was supposed to be the last ball of the over, Dutt would come forward to deliver a waist-high full-on, one that would leave Stokes square leg behind. It was a no ball, and in the free hit, Stokes did Stokesy things, stepping out to send it over long on. From running 50 off 58 deliveries, Stokes was on 80 off 69 balls.
Stokes would then hit Bas de Leede for a six and a four in the 47th overthbefore he reached the age of 48th with a full length ball from Paul van Meekeren back for four.
Stokes would take just 20 deliveries to reach his century after crossing his 50-run mark, and while we may not see much more of Stokes’ colors in England in ODIs, on Wednesday, Stokes’ vintage was on display, giving some cheer to the England fans. during a tough time.
Moeen-Rashid does the rest
England’s spin partnership of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid was at work on Wednesday in the final. Both were influential during the Dutch rout, picking up three wickets each. Rashid, however, would settle things down after being bowled for sixes by Scott Edwards and Teja Nidamanuru. Just before the duo’s attack, Rashid would go on to get rid of de Leede, cleaning him up in the 26th over.
Rashid then struck again in the 35th overth above, saw van Beek who went for the sweeping shot but ended up polling out to Malan at fine short leg.
In the 37th over that, Rashid would go on to clean up Aryan Dutt.
Moeen ended his long wait for his first wicket of the tournament by removing Edwards, who was caught at mid-on by Malan.
Moeen then teamed up with Rashid to dismiss Roelef van der Merwe after he tried a reverse sweep that ended up at Rashid’s hands at short third man.
Moeen then finished the contest with a slow, wide delivery to van Meekeren, who looked to slap through mid on but missed, only for Jos Buttler to collect the ball and dismantle the bails.
While Stokes was the orchestrator of this victory, Moeen and Rashid were the game changers. The Dutch strikers have shown in the tournament that they cannot be written off, but this England spin double was a bit too strong for them in the end.
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