England one-day captain Eoin Morgan hailed Ben Stokes’ match-winning performance against Australia at Edgbaston, admitting: “His potential is through the roof.”
The Durham all-rounder struck an unbeaten 102 to help England secure a 40-run Duckworth-Lewis win in rain-hit Birmingham, a result that knocked Australia out of the Champions Trophy at the first hurdle.
England, who enter the semi-finals on the back of three successive wins in the tournament, had been reduced to 35 for three chasing 278 for victory but a 159-run stand between Morgan and Stokes turned the match on its head.
Stokes did run his captain out on 87, however he went on to post his third ODI century before the match was finally halted by poor weather with the hosts, cruising on 240 for four in the 41st over, winning via the Duckworth Lewis rain calculation.
“Ben’s potential is through the roof,” said Morgan. “You know, I think he bowled four overs in his first spell, and then to go back to him at the end with two of the hardest overs to bowl, you know, sums him up. He took it on his shoulders. He did it really well.
“And then his batting was exceptional. He’s very calm at the crease, very relaxed. All those games he’s played really came to the fore today. He was outstanding.”
Stokes was recently voted the Indian Premier League’s MVP after a stellar first season in the lucrative T20 competition.
The 26-year-old’s £1.7million price tag made him the most expensive overseas player in IPL history, but Morgan believes that is fully justified given he is a player who would arguably walk into any team in the world.
“I think the IPL auction proved that,” he said. “He’s always looking to influence the game - bat, ball, or even in the field. Even in the field today at mid-on, he saved a lot of runs where guys nearly nick him in order to gain momentum. He always wants to be in the game.
“A lot of guys with potential like that, when things aren’t going their way, go back into a corner, but that’s not Ben.”
One piece of bad news for England was yet another failure for Jason Roy. The Surrey opener now has just 51 ODI runs this summer at an average of 6.37 after he was dismissed for four at Edgbaston.
Roy’s place will surely now come under pressure ahead of England’s semi-final in Cardiff on Wednesday, likely to be against Sri Lanka or Pakistan.
The in-form Jonny Bairstow could now be a live option to come into the team. And Morgan admitted: “Yes, it’s unfortunate that Jason didn’t get runs today. We’re obviously three games into a tournament, and we’ll take a couple of days to have a look at what our best team is for the semi-final, as we always do.”
Morgan had stated unequivocally before the tournament began that Roy would remain in the XI come what may, but he denied he might be going back on a promise he appears to have forgotten.
“We revisit it [the team] every game,” he said. “Everybody’s position, whether it can be changed around, can we do anything better?”Reuse content