Ben Stokes once again showed his coolness under pressure to help guide England to a historic T20 World Cup victory and to become the first nation to hold both white-ball titles at the same time.
Stokes' unbeaten 52 against Pakistan at the MCG on Sunday night helped guide his team to T20 World Cup glory, following a brilliant spell from Sam Curran.
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While Stokes would admit he struggled at times during the tough innings, he will forever rank it 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."
The cricket world was quick to praise the allrounder's efforts, which has seen him increasingly become the go-to man when times get tough for his nation.
England are the best white ball team in the world.They have an incredible group of players,throughly deserve to now hold both white ball WCs .. In Ben stokes they have a player who just knows how to win the big moments .. Great teams need Great individuals.. England have plenty
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 13, 2022
Ben Stokes's commitment to drama and Pakistan's commitment to drama make this an absolutely toxic combination
— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) November 13, 2022
Nasser Hussain: The redemption of Ben Stokes is over from the nightmare of Kolkata. pic.twitter.com/4fDmh0HOHr
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) November 13, 2022
— Jack Whitehall (@jackwhitehall) November 13, 2022
There is no better man for the big occasion in World cricket than @benstokes38. Love him.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) November 13, 2022
This time last year, Ben Stokes was still out on a mental health break from cricket.
Since then, he's become Test captain, won 6/7 Tests in the process, released a highly acclaimed documentary & scored 100 on the same day and lead England to a #T20WorldCup
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) November 13, 2022
Ben Stokes is a massive national hero. He’s now won two World Cups for England, this one in the same year he spoke publicly about his mental health and how he has been on medication for it. An extraordinary person. World-beating and stereotype-busting.
— Matthew Stadlen (@MatthewStadlen) November 13, 2022
Is there a better pressure player in world cricket than @benstokes38? Always there. Some player!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 13, 2022
Two World Cup winning innings from Ben stokes. Kept fighting even when he wasn’t in full flow 👏
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) November 13, 2022
Ben Stokes completes T20 World CUp redemption
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.
Stokes has now performed heroics in all three-formats of the game.
A stoic and relentless knock at Headingley, which he scored 135 not out, helped England save the Test match against Australia and ultimately saved a draw for the series.
He scored 84 not out in the ODI World Cup final, before his latest heroics in Australia.
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.
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