Melbourne, Nov 14 (SocialNews.XYZ) Before the start of the Men's T20 World Cup, there were questions over Ben Stokes being included in the England line-up. But on Sunday, Stokes slammed an unbeaten 52, his maiden T20I fifty, to take England over the line in chasing Pakistan's 137/8 and take the side to the T20 World Cup title at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Stokes' 49-ball effort, including hitting the winning run on the last ball of the 19th over, impressed West Indies' two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain Daren Sammy. "I am absolutely chuffed for Ben Stokes. He was like a sponge, he absorbed the pressure for England, he absorbed, absorbed and absorbed and then you squeeze and release. That was Ben Stokes in that chase."
"I am so happy for him that he stood up in a final. It's not the first time he has done it. It tells you the mark of a great player because you always find yourself in a position to be a hero for your team. That is what Ben Stokes has done," wrote Sammy in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday.
For the talismanic Stokes, the current Test captain and Player of the Match in the ODI World Cup final at Lord's in 2019, it was the completion of a redemption arc after he was hit for four sixes in the final over by West Indies' Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 T20 World Cup final in Kolkata.
"I think it's not been fair to him that the one defining over in the 2016 final will always be remembered when you talk about the T20 World Cup finals. Since then, he has soared high like an eagle. With the bat, especially, he has had so many great moments in all three formats."
"That over and the Carlos Brathwaite sixes will be one of the first things you think of when you look back on the T20 World Cup finals. It will not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Ben Stokes though. That is a mark of everything he has achieved," added Sammy.
Sammy, who led West Indies to two T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016, also praised left-arm pacer Sam Curran and right-arm fast bowler Chris Jordan for their brilliant spells in the final.
Curran picked figures of 3/12 in the final, which fetched him Player of the Match as well as Player of the Tournament honour. Jordan, on the other hand, did well for England in the semifinal as well as the final with spells of 3/43 and 2/27 as a replacement for an injured Mark Wood in the playing eleven.
"As great as he (Stokes) was though, the strength of this England team is just how many people contribute. That is why they are a great team. Sam Curran has that ability to put the choke on the opposition and take key wickets in the middle overs."
"Every time they look like they might be building a partnership, he comes on and takes a couple of quick wickets. Praise also has to go to Chris Jordan who came in for the big games and got key wickets."