Stokes relishes India T20 ‘final’ in World Cup year


Ben Stokes says England welcome the pressure of Saturday’s “final” against India as they seek to become battle-hardened for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup.

India levelled the five-match T20 series 2-2 when their bowlers stifled England’s run chase for 186 despite Stokes’s defiant 46 in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

“In an ideal world we would have loved to have gone into the next game having won the series and it sounds weird saying it, but we got a positive out of losing,” said Stokes, after England fell eight runs short.

“We go into the next game with a huge amount of pressure on our shoulders as a team because whoever wins that game wins the series.

It’s a final.” Saturday’s match will again be in an empty stadium in Ahmedabad because of rising coronavirus numbers in India. But despite the lack of atmosphere, Stokes said it was still a good test for England.

“That’s great for us as a team, especially with a T20 World Cup coming up,” said Stokes. “The more pressure situations we are put into as team, the better we’ll be for it.

We want to win and we want to make a habit of winning.” India will host the showpiece event for cricket’s shortest format in October-November.

Jason Roy hit a quickfire 40 before England hit trouble at 66-3 but Stokes raised his team’s hopes with a 65-run fourth-wicket stand with Jonny Bairstow, who made 25.—APP

Previous articleSouthgate says footballers should be offered vaccine soon
Next articleTen Russians to compete in Tokyo Olympic athletics under neutral flag