Getting under the pump before World Cup is good for us: Stokes

Ahmedabad, Mar 19 (PTI) England star all-rounder Ben Stokes says losing a tight game like the fourth Twenty20 against India on Thursday and going into a ‘winners-take-all’ contest will only prepare them better for the World Cup as they will get used to pressure situations. Eyeing an unassailable 3-1 lead, the Eoin Morgan-led side faltered in a tricky chase of 186 to go down to India by eight runs. The fifth T20I, scheduled for Saturday, is now like a summit clash. “Whoever wins that game wins the series so you know that’s great for us as a team, and especially with the T20 World Cup coming up, the more pressure situations we get into as a team, the more we will benefit from it,” Stokes told reporters during the post-match interaction on Thursday. “The more pressure that we get under as a team, the more that’s going to do for us in that World Cup, because World Cups can end very quickly. Every game is a big game.” Stokes nearly carried England home with his 46 off 23 balls but he and captain Morgan were dismissed off consecutive Shardul Thakur deliveries at the start of the 17th over from where it was tilted in home team’s favour. “One of us have got to be there till the end. Leaving that many runs for our bottom order to have to deal with obviously is less than ideal. In that situation, one of our middle-order needs to be there till the end to get it over the line. It’s always more frustrating when you feel like you’ve got the game in your hands.” “Rather than going away and being too down on myself you got to look at these things and assess them and learn from them. You know we’ve got a T20 World Cup coming up and there’s no doubt it will put in a similar situation at some point in that tournament so these are all great learning experiences for us as players,” he said. Talking about Saturday’s game, he said: “It is a final because if we don’t win then we lose the series, and we don’t want to lose the series.” “We want to make a habit of winning. As I said the more situations we get put into where we’ve got pressure on us and we keep prevailing, that’s just got to do with the world of good.” The Morgan-led England have been in brilliant form in the white ball cricket since their ODI World Cup victory in 2019. “Getting into any of our white ball teams now is a huge honour, purely because of how well we have played over the last four-five years. “Even the guys who are in the XI know that there’s guys on the bench, knocking that door down, so competition for places in this team is real, real healthy and it really drives everybody to get better and better every day,” Stokes said. In the first three T20Is the team that has won the toss, has chosen to bat second and won but the latest match bucked that trend. “This is the best wicket we’ve had in this series. We knew that straightaway after the first couple of overs with Jofra and Woody. The wicket didn’t have that sort of up and down, bounce where it did the first couple of games. The bowl skidded on nicely. “You got to give credit to India and the way they bowled. They realised quite early that taking the pace off the ball and digging into the wicket was actually quite tough,” he concluded.


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