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Turning Point: Stokes's 10-ball blitz deflates India

By NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
March 27, 2021 09:26 IST
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Ben Stokes

IMAGE: Ben Stokes hits a six during the second ODI against India in Pune on Friday, mARCH 26, 2021. Photograph: BCCI
 

It was Ben Stokes as his brutal best as the left-hander's counter-attack shred India's bowling to pieces.

Desperate to leave his mark after a quiet time in the five-match T20I series and the first ODI, Stokes produced one of the most entertaining batting performances in recent times.

Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy gave England a good start, the duo putting on 110 runs for the opening wicket, after they were set 338 for victory.

The match was evenly poised when England were 194/1 in 30 overs, with another 143 needed for victory from 20 overs, at an asking rate of 7.15.

It was at this point that Stokes went on the rampage and turned the game on its head.

Having got to his fifty from 40 balls, he tore apart Kuldeep Yadav with three powerful strikes down the ground for a hat-trick of sixes. Kuldeep made the mistake of giving it flight as the England left-hander lofted it wide of long-on before the next ball was hit over long-on.

Kuldeep failed to learn from his mistake as he bowled another full delivery, which Stokes deposited over the sightscreen for his third six in a row.

Captain Virat Kohli made the mistake of bringing in Krunal Pandya from the other end as Stokes continued his assault.

Krunal didn't give it flight, bowling it short and a bit quick, and it was clobbered with brute force over the straight boundary for another six, while the next was lofted over the covers for a four followed by two runs through the off-side off the next.

It didn't matter where the bowler pitched as Stokes swung the next one over square leg for a six and followed it with a massive six wide of long-on.

He got a thick outside off the last ball to make it 28 runs from the over, which included two wides.

In the space of just 10 balls, Stokes blasted his way from 50 off 40 balls to 95 from 50 balls -- hitting 45 runs with six sixes and a four to take the match away from India's grasp.

His incredible hitting put England firmly in control of the run-chase, with 71 needed from 16 overs, at an asking rate of 4.4.

Stokes was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century as he gloved a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and was caught behind after a sensational 99 from 52 balls, hitting 10 sixes and four fours, to set England on their way to a thumping six wicket with 39 balls to spare.

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NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021