Every team would want 'exceptional' Stokes: Morgan
London [U.K], June 11 (ANI): England skipper Eoin Morgan has lavished praise on Ben Stokes, describing him as an 'exceptional' player, after the all-rounder struck a blistering century to guide his side to a 40-run victory over two-time winners Australia in their third Champions Trophy Group A clash at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground here last evening.
Chasing a target of 278 runs to win, England had a horrific start to their innings as they were left reeling at 35-3 following the dismissals of Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Joe Root and looked in a spot of bother.
However, Stokes (unbeaten at 102) staged a spirited comeback for his side as he not only struck his third ODI century, but also combined with Morgan (87) to put up a 159-run stand for the fourth wicket to inspire England to their third successive victory in the ongoing eight-team marquee event.
Admitting that Stokes was unbelievable against the Steve Smith-led side, Morgan credited the former's experience in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL)-where Stokes was sold for record Rs. 14.5 crore to Rising Pune Supergiant – for his calm and composed performance at Edgbaston.
"The IPL auction proved that every team would want him. He's always looking to influence the game – with the bat, ball, or even in the field. He went through a period today of about five overs where he was unbelievable. He always wants to be in the game," the ESPNcricinfo quoted Morgan, as saying.
"That attitude in itself. You know, a lot of guys with potential like that, when things aren't going your way, go back into a corner. But that's not Ben," he added.
Although it was `Man of the Match` Stokes' batting that stood out, Morgan believes the former was equally versatile with the ball during their Duckworth-Lewis win.
"I think he bowled four overs in his first spell. And then we went back to him at the end with two of the hardest overs to bowl. And then his batting was exceptional. He was very calm at the crease – very relaxed. All those games he's played really came to the fore today. He was outstanding. His potential is through the roof," Stokes said.
England were 240-4 after 40.2 overs when rain disrupted the innings for the second time, eventually leading to calling off the match by the umpires.
The host needed to be at 200-4 as per the DLS after 40.2 overs.
Meanwhile, put in to bat first, the Steve Smith-led side had rode on the innings of opener Aaron Finch (68) and Travis Head (71*) to post 277-9 in their stipulated 50 overs.
Mark Wood was the pick of the England bowlers as he picked four wickets giving away just 33 runs in his 10 overs. Leg spinner Adil Rashid also picked up four wickets for 41 runs.
With the win, England top their group with six points from three matches, followed by Bangladesh.
They will now play the top two teams from Group B in the semis. (ANI)