In a historic innings at The Oval, Ben Stokes delivered an exceptional performance, propelling England to a resounding 181-run victory over New Zealand in the third ODI. This series serves as vital preparation for both the teams for the imminent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, where England and New Zealand are slated to face off in the tournament’s opening fixture on October 5th.

Stokes’ record-breaking knock leads to victory over New Zealand

Stokes displayed his batting skills with a colossal innings of 182 runs, setting a new record as the highest individual scorer by an English player in ODIs. Occupying the No. 4 position, the English stalwart unleashed 15 fours and cleared the ropes nine times during his innings. Stokes’s remarkable performance played a pivotal role in propelling England to a commanding total of 368 runs in the first innings. This imposing target proved insurmountable for New Zealand, as they were ultimately dismissed for just 187 runs.

Also READ: Twitter erupts as England star Ben Stokes hits first ODI century after returning from retirement in ENG vs NZ 3rd ODI

Stokes anticipated ODI cricket comeback

Following his record-trumbling knock, Stokes disclosed that he had foreseen his return to ODI cricket during the Ashes 2023 series. However, he opted to keep this decision a closely guarded secret to evade media attention and scrutiny.

“Obviously I’ve been asked a lot about my knee over a long period of time, so I just said that to leave it. I knew that I’d be playing in these games and potentially in the World Cup then when I said that, but it was just the easiest thing to say that and put you [the media] off the radar,” Stokes was quoted as saying by the ESPNcricinfo.

It’s worth noting that Stokes, who had previously announced his retirement from ODI cricket in 2022, reversed this choice merely a month before the World Cup in India. Interestingly, ahead of the fifth Ashes at the Oval in July, when questioned about the possibility of his return for the ODI World Cup 2023, he maintained a resolute stance, affirming his retired status.

Stokes reflects on fresh clarity

Additionally, the 32-year-old emphasized that the newfound clarity of not having to bowl anymore has significantly aided him in his return to the ODI format.

“This is the first time that I’ve been clear in my mind that that’s the one thing I can focus on. I think over the last 18 months, every day has been, ‘will I bowl, will I not bowl?’ Now, I know that I can just focus on that… that’s my thing for the team now. Having that clarity in my head contributes to that,” the Christchurch-born concluded.

Unsurprisingly, Stokes was named the ‘Player of the Match’ for his exceptional performance. As it stands, England leads the series 2-1 with one more game to go, further setting the stage for an exciting World Cup showdown.

Also READ: Twitter Reactions: Ben Stokes’ record breaking knock steers England to a resounding win over New Zealand in 3rd ODI

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