Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 October 2019

Ben Stokes and England can build on Cricket World Cup final triumph to dominate ODI landscape

The question now is just how successful can Eoin Morgan's team be going forward

The last time that Ben Stokes had been in a pressure situation in the deciding over of a final of an international tournament it did not end well.

The England allrounder was slapped for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite as the West Indies won the T20 World Cup in India in 2016, having needed 19 off the last over.

A lot has happened to Stokes since then - on and off the pitch - but Sunday's heroic effort at Lord's showed just how much he has grown as a player.

With wickets falling at the other end he never lost his composure as England desperately chased 242 to win the Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand.

Needing 15 off five balls, it looked to be all over against a Black Caps attack who for so much of the innings had bowled superbly and made it almost impossible to score quick runs off.

Stokes hit a six, then had good fortune with an some overthrows, but he never lost focus.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has made a remarkable turnaround in his life and career after a trobled past year. Clive Mason / Getty Images
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has made a remarkable turnaround in his life and career after a trobled past year. Clive Mason / Getty Images

Despite his 84 runs off 98 balls, Stokes failed narrowly to get England over the line in their allotted 50 overs, but a draw on 241 gave them another chance in the super over. The 15 runs he and Jos Buttler scored off six balls from Trent Boult - New Zealand tied but lost on a count back on number of boundaries scored - proved enough to see England clinch an historic first Cricket World Cup.

England needed a big performance and Stokes delivered when his team needed him most. He is symbolic of a new breed of England in the one-dayformat.

Gone are the indifferent, nervous performances that had dogged the team at World Cups between 1996 and 2015.

The fact that England played only two knockout games in that period, losing both heavily to Sri Lanka in 1996 and 2011 at the quarter-final stage, tells you all you need to know about how poor they were during that period.

How times have changed.

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England's match-winning display will not be used in any blue prints on how to win a final. They were nervy with the bat, conceded 30 byes and made some mistakes in the field that could have proved costly.

But, as with all good sides, they found a way to win. The question now is just how much more success can this side achieve?

Eoin Morgan's side is a young one, with only Liam Plunkett, who will be 38 in 2023, unlikely to be around for the title defence in India. They have a great opening pair in Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, a talented middle order led by Buttler and Stokes, and an outstanding bowling attack that has the ability to take wickets.

England's quality had not been in doubt going into the tournament. They had notched up an array of impressive results since their failure to get out of the group stages in Australia in 2015. But doing it when it matters most is what separates the great from the good, and that is why Morgan's side will now go down in the history books.

There defeat to Australia at Lord's in June in the group stages left them with no margin for error. But they stepped up, both with bat and ball, claiming four wins on the trot, against India, New Zealand in their group game, Australia and then against the Black Caps again in Sunday's epic final.

Sunday night was one for England to celebrate, but when the players and fans wake up on Monday it will be with the knowledge this could be just the start of something good for English cricket.

Updated: July 15, 2019 12:38 PM

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