Cricket

Stokes, Morgan deliver the knock-out punch

England wins after being 40 runs ahead of the DLS target to complete Aussies’ woes

Ben Stokes hit a career-best 102 not out and captain Eoin Morgan 87 as England knocked Australia out of the Champions Trophy with a 40-run win over its arch-rival at Edgbaston on Saturday.

England collapsed to 35 for three chasing 278 for victory before left-handers Morgan and Stokes changed the course of the game with a fourth-wicket partnership of 159 off 158 balls.

Stokes’ third ODI century was his highest score at this level after the all-rounder had twice made 101.

When a second downpour finally saw play abandoned for the day, England was 240 for four off 40.2 overs — well ahead of the 200 it needed for victory at that stage on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method for rain-affected limited-over matches.

Bangladesh advances

This defeat saw Bangladesh, which beat New Zealand by five wickets in Cardiff on Friday, into the last four instead.

England opener Jason Roy’s miserable run continued when he was lbw for four to left-arm quick Mitchell Starc. Roy’s review proved fruitless and this score meant he’d managed just 51 runs in eight ODI innings this season.

Fellow-opener Alex Hales fell for a duck when he edged Josh Hazlewood low to Aaron Finch at first slip, with Hazlewood following up to have Joe Root (15) caught behind.

That left England 35 for three before a brief rain break halted Australia’s charge, with Morgan — dropped on 12 when wicket-keeper Matthew Wade failed to hold a tough diving leg-side chance off Hazlewood — 14 not out and Stokes yet to get off the mark.

Counter-attack

Morgan and Stokes then counter-attacked, and were particularly severe on first-change Pat Cummins.

The fast bowler, struggling for line and length, bowled a full toss which Stokes clipped for a leg-side four and when Cummins switched to around the wicket, the all-rounder drove him through extra-cover for another boundary.

Stokes completed a 39-ball half-century featuring eight fours when he hooked Starc for six, with Morgan following him to the landmark in 51 balls.

Morgan went to 85 with a huge soaring six after clubbing Hazlewood into the stands. However, he fell 13 short of a century when, after Stokes’ chip fell just short of midwicket, he did not respond to a call for a single and was run out by Adam Zampa’s direct hit.

Morgan faced 81 balls including eight fours and five sixes.

Stokes though was not to be denied, forcing leg-spinner Zampa for his 13th four to complete a 108-ball century also featuring two sixes.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:49:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/stokes-morgan-deliver-the-knock-out-punch/article18961416.ece

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