England Vs New Zealand : England Vs New Zealand :

England Triumphs Over New Zealand with 181-Run Margin

In a spectacular display of cricket prowess, England secured a resounding victory over New Zealand at the Kia Oval. Ben Stokes, returning to ODI cricket after a 14-month retirement, silenced any doubts about his readiness with an explosive performance. He blazed his way to a remarkable century, taking just 76 balls, and continued to rewrite the record books by notching up an astonishing 182 runs off 124 balls. This incredible feat established him as the Englishman with the highest individual score in the ODI format, solidifying England’s dominant win over New Zealand.

Stokes’ Explosive Comeback Ignites England’s Dominance

Ben Stokes, making a triumphant return to ODI cricket after a 14-month hiatus, took the Kia Oval by storm. Despite England’s early struggles at 13 for 2, with Trent Boult’s fierce new ball swing, Stokes formed a remarkable third-wicket partnership with Dawid Malan that added 199 runs to the scoreboard in just 165 balls. His onslaught against Lockie Ferguson was relentless, plundering 56 runs off the 30 balls he faced from the Kiwi bowler, ultimately costing Ferguson nine overs that went for 80 runs.

Stokes began his innings aggressively, charging down the pitch and shifting outside leg stump to create room for off-side strokes. While he initially had 13 runs off 19 balls, his approach changed dramatically when Ferguson came into the attack. Stokes hit three boundaries in four balls during Ferguson’s second over, setting the tone for his blistering innings.

His style mirrored the tempo he exhibited during the Ashes earlier in the summer – a mix of well-placed singles and calculated, dismissive sixes. The highlight was a fearless skip-down-and-swing shot off Glenn Phillips, which soared into the second tier of the Pavilion.

Despite battling a knee injury, Stokes chose to stand and deliver, smashing nine sixes, including six in his final 31 balls. When he was finally dismissed while attempting a tenth six to square leg, the crowd rose to their feet, acknowledging the hero of England’s 2019 World Cup victory, now hopeful that he could lead them to a successful title defense in India.

Reflecting on his performance, Stokes stated,

 England Vs New Zealand :
England Vs New Zealand :

“It’s good to come back after a while out and make a significant contribution to our victory today. Personally, it was a valuable experience to get reacquainted with the nuances of 50-over cricket. We lost a few quick wickets, and I wanted to apply pressure on the opposition. There were moments when I had to rein myself in because I looked at the scoreboard and realized there were still 23-24 overs left… you have more time than you think.”

He humorously added, “I didn’t actually know about the record until the announcer mentioned it – and then I got out on the next ball. There were points when I was scoring quite freely, and I felt like I could keep going and going. In 50-over cricket, we always aim to post big scores, but it was a matter of realizing how much time I still had.”

As New Zealand attempted to chase down 369, the game turned into a one-sided affair. Chris Woakes, bowling a remarkable eight-over spell from the Pavilion End, dismantled the Kiwi batting lineup and effectively ended the contest with figures of 3 for 31. Glenn Phillips, who contributed a career-best 72, was the sole batsman to cross the 30-run mark as New Zealand capitulated for 187.

While Ben Stokes stole the spotlight, this match may have solidified England’s World Cup squad. Jason Roy’s continued absence due to back spasms allowed Dawid Malan to return from paternity leave and seize the opportunity. Malan’s impressive 96 off 95 balls marked his second half-century of the series and his ninth 50-plus score out of 20 in ODIs. Previously perceived as the backup batsman in England’s provisional 15-man squad, Malan made a compelling case for his inclusion, especially with Harry Brook, initially overlooked, making a strong claim for selection.

England’s World Cup Puzzle: Malan Shines, Brook Presses Roy

With the opening game of the World Cup in Ahmedabad looming on October 5 against New Zealand, it appears increasingly likely that Dawid Malan may secure a spot in the starting XI, possibly as Jonny Bairstow’s opening partner. If Malan is indeed earmarked for this role, Harry Brook could potentially edge out Jason Roy for the remaining batting position in the squad, given Brook’s versatility and Roy’s inconsistent fitness record.

Following England’s triumph at the Ageas Bowl, Jos Buttler and his team emphasized the need to adopt a more positive and aggressive approach. In response, Malan and Ben Stokes formed a dynamic partnership, amassing 100 runs in just 15.1 overs. Malan took charge against the new ball, striking six crisply-hit boundaries within the first 10 overs.

Malan’s proficiency in the pull shot was evident as he dispatched Ben Lister through square leg for four on two occasions and pummeled Kyle Jamieson over long-on to accelerate into the 80s. Although he got tangled down the leg side and fell to Trent Boult just short of a century, Malan had laid the foundation with England at 212 for 3 after 30.1 overs.

Despite the promising start, England couldn’t convert it into a 400-plus total as their lower-order wickets tumbled. Jos Buttler briefly shone with a 38 off 24 balls, but Stokes’ dismissal in the 45th over triggered a collapse, resulting in 5 wickets falling for just 20 runs. Trent Boult, the standout performer in the New Zealand attack, claimed his sixth ODI five-wicket haul by disrupting Gus Atkinson’s stumps.

 England Vs New Zealand :
England Vs New Zealand :

New Zealand’s bowling unit faced challenges, with Mitchell Santner nursing a knee injury and Ish Sodhi rested. They relied on two allrounders, Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra, for spin bowling. Neither Kyle Jamieson nor Ben Lister is expected to feature prominently in the World Cup, barring injuries.

However, Ben Stokes capitalized on New Zealand’s depleted bowling attack, amassing 59 runs from the 35 balls of spin he faced, including three towering sixes that rendered Rachin Ravindra ineffective after his second over. Stokes eventually fell to Lister but not before surpassing Roy’s record for the highest individual innings by an Englishman in ODIs.

Despite missing their primary bowlers, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood, England’s bowling remained effective. Chris Woakes dismissed Will Young and Henry Nicholls, while Tom Latham’s stumps were rattled by an inswinging delivery. Devon Conway struggled, managing only 9 runs off 18 balls before falling lbw to Reece Topley, leaving New Zealand at 37 for 4. Sam Curran had Daryl Mitchell caught behind, and Moeen Ali bowled Rachin Ravindra with an arm ball. Glenn Phillips attempted a few futile sixes as the required run rate soared. By the time he was dismissed lbw on review, becoming one of Liam Livingstone’s three victims, The Oval was only half-full.

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