Stokes cricket's ultimate big-game player

From T20 World Cup despair in 2016, England star Ben Stokes has transformed into cricket's definitive big-game performer.

Just like he did in the dramatic ODI World Cup final in 2019, the allrounder guided England out of trouble to more title glory on Sunday night.

Stokes' unbeaten 52 against Pakistan at the MCG was far from his best or most stylish innings but it will forever rank as one of his most important.

England were reeling at 4-84 in chase of a modest total of 8-137 as Pakistan's fearsome pace attack were causing serious problems on a tricky pitch.

But Stokes stayed calm and ensured England became the first team to hold the T20 and ODI World Cups at the same time, stamping themselves cricket's white ball kings.

Captain Jos Buttler, who sits alongside Stokes as England's finest white ball cricketer, hailed the 31-year-old's contribution.

"(Stokes) always stands up in the biggest moments, he's a man who can take a lot of pressure on his shoulders and perform," Buttler told reporters at the MCG.

"When he's still out in the middle, you know you're in with a good chance."

To become a nerveless icon of the modern game, Stokes had to experience heartbreak in a final six years ago.

England were in the box seat to win the 2016 decider, with the West Indies still needing 19 runs for victory from the final over.

But in front of a pulsating crowd at Kolkata's Eden Gardens, Stokes was clubbed by West Indian Carlos Brathwaite for four consecutive sixes to steal an unlikely title.

Rather than be haunted by those memories, Stokes has been inspired and added another chapter to his career in front of 80,462 fans at the MCG.

His T20 heroics means he has performed on the biggest state in all three formats, with his legendary matchwinning knock in the 2019 Headingley Test going down in Ashes folklore.

The fallout of the 2016 T20 loss was a focus of Stokes' documentary, Phoenix from the Ashes, released this year.

"It's an amazing story, really," Buttler said.

"It's a shame he did his documentary a year early, he could have added this in.

"He's been on an amazing journey to have all these big moments.

"I always remember his words (in the 2019 ODI final) to (England quick) Jofra (Archer) that things don't define you.

"He's obviously never let the 2016 final push him back and the things he's gone on to achieve in his career since then has been amazing.

"We're immensely lucky to have him because he's one of the great players of English cricket."

Stokes made the shock call in July to retire from ODIs, saying he could no longer dedicate himself to playing all three formats for England.

But the ECB will be trying seriously hard to change his mind for their 50-over World Cup defence in India next year.