Ben Stokes century gets England out of trouble against Netherlands

By Sports Desk November 08, 2023

Ben Stokes blasted 108 as England posted 339 for nine to take control of their bottom-of-the-table World Cup clash against the Netherlands in Pune.

With their semi-final chances a distant memory, both sides still had plenty to play for, with a place at the 2025 Champions Trophy the prize for a top-eight finish, and England had Stokes to thank for their putting them in the box seat.

At 192 for six they were making life extremely difficult for themselves, but Stokes raced through the gears to do the hard work his side so badly needed.

Having ground out a hard-working fifty in 58 deliveries, he exploded into life and took just 20 more to reach his fifth ODI century in a display of power-hitting that helped bring 114 runs in the last 10 overs.

Despite not hitting any boundaries as he dug in between the 29th and the 43rd, he finished with six sixes and six fours before holing out with two balls left.

Coming off the back of five demoralising defeats in a row, Stokes produced a show of skill and character that reinforced his status as his team’s “spiritual leader” – a title first uttered by under-pressure head coach Matthew Mott during his spell on the injured list at the start of the tournament.

Former England seamer Steve Harmison, Stokes’ close friend and former Durham team-mate, called on England to send the 32-year-old home ahead of this match to accelerate his forthcoming knee surgery, but it is hard to see who could have provided the impetus had they done so.

Chris Woakes provided good support as he made 51 in a seventh-wicket of stand of 129 with Stokes, while Dawid Malan (87) was on course for a ton of his own until a silly run out cost him.

England had bossed the opening exchanges, Malan pounding out 10 boundaries in a 36-ball fifty in the powerplay, and even papered over Jonny Bairstow’s sloppy dismissal for 15 via a top edge.

The score was 133 for one when Joe Root attempted, for the second time, one of his trademark reverse scoops over the wicketkeeper. The first one had raced away for four, but this time he got his timings all wrong and was clean bowled through his own legs without even committing a full swing of the bat.

Root has struggled for runs for much of the last month, but falling to a Logan van Beek nutmeg was a new one on his bingo card.

Malan, who had driven expertly and swept two big sixes off Roelof van der Merwe, then fell on his sword in the very next over.

Setting off for a single despite tapping straight to cover, he was sent back by Stokes and caught an inch out of his ground by some smart work in the field.

Suddenly England looked vulnerable again, with the recalled Harry Brook (11) pulling Bas de Leede tamely into the leg-side to fluff his opportunity back in the XI.

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali followed for single figures, the off-form skipper picking out mid-off and his deputy arcing the softest possible catch to long-off.

Stokes grafted hard to keep the innings alive, getting his eye in before finally indulging himself at the back end.

Aryan Dutt’s last over went for 24, De Leede’s final two shipped 34 and Paul van Meekeren delivered a steady stream of wides as the pressure told.

Stokes reached his hundred with a reverse sweep and finally departed in the closing moments looking for one last blow.

Related items

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe's broken nose, Neville's concern and the stars are out Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe's broken nose, Neville's concern and the stars are out

    Euro 2024 is truly up and running, with five of the six groups having already gone through their first matchdays.

    On Monday, favourties France clicked into gear with a 1-0 win over Austria.

    That came after Romania thrashed Ukraine 3-0 and Belgium were the first major side to suffer a shock defeat, going down 1-0 to Slovenia.

    But what about the action on social media? We've picked out some of the best posts...

     

    The stars are out

    There's plenty of big names taking in all the action in Germany, and there were some superstars in attendance to watch on as France faced Austria in Dusseldorf.

    Among them were Portuguese great Luis Figo, Germany icon Philipp Lahm, and Spain legend - and current Bayer Leverkusen coach - Xabi Alonso.

    Lahm posted on Instagram: "#AUTFRA in best company! Amazing how fans from Europe and all over the world have turned Germany into a big festival within just a few days."

    Expected broken bones (xBB)?

    Poor old Kylian Mbappe. He just can't catch a break at the Euros.

    He did help create France's winner against Austria, but subsequently missed a great chance (one that had an expected goals value of 0.6) in the second half, and is yet to score at the European Championships.

    To top it off, he then sustained what appeared to be a broken nose when his face clashed with Kevin Danso's shoulder.

    Mbappe also received a booking before he was eventually substituted. Opta Analyst saw the funny side, at least. 

    Evergreen

    Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when Didier Deschamps elected to select N'Golo Kante in France's squad.

    At 33 and having struggled with injuries in recent seasons, Kante now plies his trade out in Saudi Arabia.

    Yet he was simply magnificent in the heart of France's midfield against Austria. He attempted three tackles, won two of them and made two interceptions in an all-action display.

    Key skills

    Fan parks in Germany are equipped with CPR training centres, so supporters can learn how to potentially save a life if required.

    And it's not just the fans who are able to take in a lesson. 

    As UEFA's official X account showed, the players are getting involved too. The Romanian team gave it a go.

    Midfield an issue for England?

    Gary Neville is out in Germany as a pundit for ITV Sport, though the former England defender was back on Sky Sports to share his thoughts on the Three Lions' display against Serbia on Sunday.

    And Neville fears for the balance of Gareth Southgate's midfield.

    "The midfield is the major concern and the fluidity of the game that comes through there is one thing we need to try and work on in the group stage because when we play against a good team, we'll have to have it right," said Neville. 

    "There are some small alarm bells around balance and having a good group of players that are very talented but are we as good a team?"

    Quickfire tour

    Ever wondered what it's like behind the scenes at a team training camp at a major tournament?

    Well, Scotland's social media team allowed fans to have a quick peep behind the curtain by sharing a 45-second video of their Alpine training base.

    Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in Bavaria, and it's as picturesque as you can imagine.

    Where's Wally?

    Can you pick out one character in a sea of red and white?

    The Austria fans were out in uniform for their clash with France!

    Would you like fries with that?

    It was far from a dream start for Belgium, as they slumped to a 1-0 loss to Slovakia.

    Romelu Lukaku was twice thwarted by VAR, and squandered numerous big chances.

    But Lukaku can at least take solace in the fact he is not the Belgium fan who elected to turn up to the match wearing a hat resembling a portion of french fries... That really is having a chip on your shoulder!

  • Keane backs Foden to deliver after criticism from England's Euro 2024 opener Keane backs Foden to deliver after criticism from England's Euro 2024 opener

    England must stick with Phil Foden despite an "off night" against Serbia in their Euro 2024 opener, according to Manchester United great Roy Keane.

    Foden created just one chance in Sunday's 1-0 victory as the Manchester City star moved to the left flank, making way to accommodate an attack of Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.

    The 24-year-old still managed 19 passes in the final third, only bettered by match-winning team-mate Jude Bellingham (24), but failed to register a single shot in an unusually quiet outing.

    Former United midfielder Keane has no doubts over Foden's ability, however, and lamented critics calling for his dropping from Gareth Southgate's starting XI.

    "This idea that you should start taking him out of the team, Phil Foden is an amazing, fantastic player who has had a great season," Keane said on ITV on Monday.

    "OK, he was quiet last night but he is entitled to an off night. Don't be writing this kid off. He has got so much talent. You stick with him.

    "You can talk about tactics and systems until the cows come home. Foden and these quality players will produce. He had a quiet night. Relax, everyone. He will be fine."

    Bellingham stole the show as his 13th-minute header from Saka's deflected right-wing cross proved the difference.

    Real Madrid's Champions League-winning midfielder also became the first player to score for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and European Championship while playing his club football outside of England.

    Kane was another to be kept quiet by Serbia, though the England captain had a late header expertly pushed away by Predrag Rajkovic.

    Keane insists Southgate's plethora of talent will always deliver in some form, though, whether it comes from Kane, Bellingham, Foden or any other player.

    "They have got to stay calm with it all," Keane added. "Because they have three or four world-class players, when Kane or Foden are having a bit of an off-night, players like Bellingham will step up.

    "It might be Foden or Kane in the next game. That is the beauty of having four or five world-class players."

    England head to Frankfurt on Thursday to face Denmark, aiming to extend their embryonic lead at the top of Group C before their final meeting with Slovenia.

  • Ferguson makes history as New Zealand end disappointing T20 World Cup campaign with a flourish Ferguson makes history as New Zealand end disappointing T20 World Cup campaign with a flourish

    New Zealand concluded their disappointing T20 World Cup campaign in style as they swept aside Papua New Guinea, emerging seven-wicket victors in Trinidad. 

    Lockie Ferguson starred for the Black Caps, becoming the first bowler at a men's T20 World Cup to bowl four maiden overs in a spell, claiming three wickets to dismiss their opponents for 78.

    Trent Boult ended with figures of 2-14 after taking out Hiri Hiri and Norman Vanua in what could be his T20I for his nation, after declaring this World Cup would be his last in this format.

    New Zealand started their chase shakily following the early loss of Finn Allen in the second ball of their reply, but Devon Conway's knock of 35 from 32 steadied the ship for Kane Williamson's side. 

    Conway hit three sixes before falling to Semo Kamea, with Williamson and Daryl Mitchell on hand to secure a Black Caps win and end the tournament on a high after they exited a World Cup before the last four for the first time since 2014.

     

    Data Debrief: Fantastic Ferguson dazzles 

    Ferguson's hugely impressive display saw him also become the second bowler in T20Is to record four maiden overs.

    The last to achieve that feat was Canada's Saad Bin Zafar, who took two wickets without conceding a run against Panama in a T20 World Cup Americas Region Qualifier in 2021.

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.