ICC Champions Trophy: We’re moving forward with our positive intent, says Ben Stokes

first_imgEngland beat Australia at Edgbaston to knock out the two finalists of the 2015 ICC World Cup, Australia and New Zealand.England’s rain-affected 40-run win over their fiercest cricketing rivals was spearheaded by the fine partnership of Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan.Rain had held up play for over 40 minutes and the Australian bowlers had reduced the English batting line up to 35 for 3. Common sense would say caution and a steady head to see out the moving ball from a fierce bowling attack. But Ben Stokes is not such a man.The burly all-rounder let loose from the word go, blasting a career-best 102 not out, while stringing a 159-run partnership with captain Morgan.  As England came out victorious by 40 runs (via D/L method) when the rain disrupted play again, Stokes was unbeaten on 102 (his third ODI century) while Morgan fell just 13 short.”There was always pressure. But the fear thing – we don’t think about too much,” Stokes told ICC after the game in an interview.”Me and Morgy (Morgan) both talked about the fact that the ball wasn’t swinging and there was just a bit of sideways movement off the deck. So we just had to try and play every ball on its merit and then once you get in on good wickets and face a few balls, it gets a lot easier.”It just sums up our team at the moment and the way we’re moving forward with our positive intent and we always on to be on the front foot.”advertisementWhen asked if the plan was to attack after the initial rain-break, Stokes corrected that it was the way England play the game at the moment.”I don’t think it was a counter-attack,” he said. “It’s just our natural way in the middle order. We always look to take the positive option whether in attack or defence.””It was just our natural way,” said Stokes. “We don’t make a conscious effort on that (targeting bowlers) unless we feel the need to. We just keep playing, we know that our natural attacking positive instinct is probably going to take over.”Stokes innings was laden with 13 fours and two sixes, but the start-stop nature of the game meant that he had to cautious in his approach and keep evaluating the target every other over.”When you’re out there in chases, the biggest thing that you need to come over is the adrenaline that you feel,” he explained. “I actually had to sort of start again at certain stages. I looked up at the board and saw we needed 100 to win and I thought I was getting a bit too far ahead of myself. I thought if I got out playing a silly shot, it’ll put some pressure on the guys coming after me. I just try and concentrate on the run rate on what we need, try and take over from there and make sure we get that and put bad balls away.”Stokes says England are not getting ahead of themselves just yet, being the only team to qualify unbeaten in this year’s competition , but they are definitely living up to the tag of  ‘favourites’.”We know we’re going well as a team and we’ve got potential. But we have two big games ahead of us.”last_img read more