Ben Stokes starred with his maiden World Cup hundred as defending champions England finally ended their five-match losing streak in the ongoing World Cup 2023 after defeating Netherlands by 160 runs on Wednesday (November 8) in Pune.
England captain Jos Buttler won the toss and chose to bat first as Dawid Malan (87) got the team off to a great start but another batting collapse saw them slide to 192/6 in the 36th over. Stokes batted smartly to rebuild the innings with Chris Woakes (51), and then cut loose as the pair added 129 runs for the 7th wicket to help England finish with 339/9.
Stokes, who had a disappointing tournament after high expectations following his u-turn on ODI retirement, scored his fifth hundred in the format and was eventually dismissed for 108 off 84 balls with 6 fours and 6 sixes.
In reply, Netherlands folded for just 179 in 37.2 overs as England won by 160 runs to move to 7th spot on the points table after languishing at the bottom for much of the tournament. The top 8 teams will qualify for Champions Trophy 2025, hence England needed a big win today and will look for the same in their last match against Pakistan.
Stokes, who was named the Player-of-the-Match, told the broadcasters Star Sports that the win meant more to him than the century: “More pleased with the victory (than scoring a century), it has been a tough World Cup for us. It was a nice wicket to bat on, had some tennis-ball bounce.
We (Woakes and himself) built a good partnership, whenever there was pressure building I had a look at the scoreboard and reminded myself there was a lot of time remaining (in the innings),” he said.
Stokes added, “Tried to take it deep and cash in later. He (Woakes) is a genuine all-rounder for us, he has been a great cricketer for England over the last 2-3 years and today he proved it.”
Nasser Hussain then asked Stokes whether he had contemplated flying back home early to get his injured knee operated on to be fit for the five-match Test series against India, starting late January.
Stokes was quick to dismiss any speculation regarding the same and said, “No, don't leave anyone hanging” before signing off.