India connection has been found in England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ thought process when he was batting against New Zealand in the thrilling finale of the 2019 World Cup at Lord’s on Sunday. England were left to score three runs off two balls after the lucky deflection and then after Adil Rashid got run out in the penultimate ball while trying to take two, the ace all-rounder was left to score two on the final ball. At that moment, Stokes was thinking about a Bangladeshi cricketer and it was Mushfiqur Rahim.
Three years ago, the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman was in a similar situation in a game against India in the World T20 in Bengaluru. The Tigers were in an advantageous position and required a few runs to get over the line. Rahim was on strike and he chose to go for the glory shot only to find himself caught at the deep mid-wicket and Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s India had gone through to the semi-final. Rahim had already started celebrating their win thinking the job was done but as fate would have it Bangladesh ended up losing the game by a solitary run.
Take it to the Super Over
For Stokes, that match remained a hard lesson to learn. “Just before the last ball, all I was thinking of was Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup game (against India in 2016),” Stokes, who was the man of the match in the final said.
During the celebrations after England bagged their maiden World Cup, Stokes said: “Don’t try to be a hero and try hit it for six. Try to get one run and take it to the Super Over. That was my process. Emotions were running high on time.”
The 28-year-old, who resurrected the England innings and remained unbeaten in 84, had his share of luck as well. In the penultimate over of the match bowled by James Neesham, Stokes had a close shave after he attempted a big shot. It was a catch but Trent Boult misjudged the boundary ropes and landed over it while trying to regain balance after taking the catch. And then, there was that rarest of the rare deflection off Stokes’ bat that earned the Three Lions four extra runs to make life much easier.
Stokes could manage to take one run on the final delivery off Boult as his partner Mark Wood got run out at the other end while trying to take two and the match ended in a tie (both sides scored 241 runs). The Super Over that followed also ended in a tie with Stokes making eight vital runs. In the end, England won the cup by the virtue of scoring more boundaries than New Zealand.