Ben Stokes and Joe Root give England hope of ending World Cup on a high

Stokes followed up his century against Netherlands by crashing 84 and Root added a workmanlike 60.

Rory Dollard
Saturday 11 November 2023 12:48 GMT
Ben Stokes impressed again for England (Bikas Das/AP)
Ben Stokes impressed again for England (Bikas Das/AP)

Ben Stokes and Joe Root led England to 337 for nine against Pakistan as they attempted to end their World Cup – and their era – on a high in Kolkata.

England’s chaotic and unsuccessful title defence will not carry on to the semi-finals and it is widely expected that the core of the team that conquered this tournament in 2019 will now begin to break up after this game.

But two central pillars of the golden days came to the fore here, Stokes following up his century against Netherlands by crashing 84 and Root adding a workmanlike 60 as he became the first English batter to reach 1,000 World Cup runs.

Like many of their fellow thirtysomethings they face an uncertain future in ODI cricket, with a fresh-faced squad set to be announced on Sunday for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies, but they ensured their side did not slink meekly into the past tense.

Stokes will never forget Eden Gardens, where he was hammered for four successive sixes in the final, decisive over of the T20 World Cup in 2016, but he added a few happier memories this time with 11 fours and two maximums of his own.

The second was a staggering stroke, switching his hands and reverse-scooping Agha Salman over the ropes at deep third.

Stokes earlier saw a return catch put down by Shaheen Shah Afridi on 10 but knuckled down with Root to share a run-a-ball stand of 132 for the third wicket.

That gave the England innings its foundations before a flurry of action at the death.

In the last 10 overs there were nine fours, five sixes and seven wickets as the game accelerated into a highlights package.

Jos Buttler (27 off 18 balls), Harry Brook (30 off 17) and the retiring David Willey (15 off five) all hit out then got out as Pakistan played their part.

Haris Rauf had a busy time, carrying a catch into the boundary rope to spare Buttler only to make amends with a superb direct run-out, and finishing with three for 64.

Dawid Malan (31) and Jonny Bairstow (59) put on England’s most productive powerplay of the tournament in the first 10 overs, finally getting their tempo right at the same time.

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