Melbourne: Ben Stokes was immense on Sunday night at Melbourne as he was on a distant Lord’s evening in 2019.
Stokes mastered a tepid pitch and fiery Pakistan bowlers in the course of a measured unbeaten 52, the cornerstone of England’s 5-wicket win over Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 final.
A true champion cricketer was leaving his mark on the largest stage of the shortest form of cricket. England captain Jos Buttler acknowledged the role Stokes played with the bat in their title win.
“He always stands up in the biggest moments. He’s a man who can take a lot of pressure on his shoulders and perform, and yeah, absolutely with him in the middle you know you've got a good chance.
“Yeah, just so proud of him, pleased for him that he's stood up and done it again,” said Buttler in the post-match press conference.
“He's a true match--winner, and he's been there in those scenarios time and time again. He just has a lot of know-how for how to do that.
“I think it certainly wasn't his most fluent innings or probably didn't time the ball as well as he can, but you knew he was never going to go down without a fight and stand up and be there at the end.
“Yeah, we were immensely lucky to have him, and he's one of the great players of English cricket,” said Stokes.
It was also some sort of redemption for Stokes as he was hammered by Carlos Brathwaite for 4 sixes in the 2016 final at the Eden Gardens. Buttler understands the feelings.
“It's an amazing story really, isn't it. I think it's a shame he did his documentary a year early. He could have added that in.
“Yeah, he's been on an amazing journey. I think all these big moments, like I'll always remember his words to Jofra about how things don't define you, and I think he's obviously never let that 2016 final sort of push him back, and you think of the things he's gone on to achieve in his career since then is just amazing,” Buttler could not just stop talking about Stokes.
The England captain was equally effusive of Sam Curran too, player of the final and player of the tournament as well. “Sam Curran has stepped up and been an absolute revelation. He's a brilliant cricketer. He loves those crunch moments. He deserved Player of the Tournament for this, and we're so proud to have him in our team,” he said.
Curran compared to Akram
“I think Sam would definitely be compared to Wasim Akram (left-arm pace legend who was the man of the match in the 1992 final against England). That's a pretty good rap. Yeah, he's a top performer. He's only going to get better and better, as well. He's still a young man.
“But he's got a lot of experience already on those shoulders, and he's just -- he wants the ball. He's a man you turn to tell him he's on, and he's already saying, yeah, I want to bowl,” he signed off.