Talismanic England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ thoughts on India’s approach in the run chase against England in the 2019 World Cup group game had thrown people into hysteria, which were published in his new book ‘On Fire’. But his comments have led some to believe that India had figuratively forfeited the match to ensure the expulsion of arch rivals Pakistan from the global event.
One such person who made such accusations is former Pakistani bowler Sikander Bakht, who, while tweeting an old video of himself, said that Stokes’ book has only vindicated his claim.
Here’s the tweet:
Ben Stokes writes in his book that India lost to England deliberately to remove Pakistan from world Cup 19 and we predicted it Pakistan India relationship @TheRealPCB @TheRealPCBMedia pic.twitter.com/ioqFSHeeg1
— Sikander Bakht (@Sikanderbakhts) May 28, 2020
In reply, Stokes clarified his comments comprehensively, calling out Sikander Bakht on his false claims, by replying to a Twitter user named Sohaib Khan who raised the question of where Stokes said anything similar:
You won’t find it cause I have never said it… it’s called “twisting of words” or “click bait” 🤷♂️ https://t.co/uIUYXVaxLB
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) May 28, 2020
This was what Stokes had written in his book:
“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. There was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke.”
“There is a theory in our camp that Dhoni’s way of playing has always been the same. Even if India can’t win the game, he takes it right to the end to try to make sure that India’s run rate stays relatively healthy. His big thing has always been to give himself a chance of winning by being at the crease for the final over, but he generally likes to stick around to get as close to a target as possible even in a losing cause.”
A 109 ball 111 from opener Jonny Bairstow and quickfire half centuries from fellow opener Jason Roy and then Ben Stokes himself at the end saw England post a mammoth total of 337/7 at Edgbaston. In reply, despite losing Lokesh Rahul early, India were well and truly in the run chase with a 138 run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, as Kohli went on to make 66 and Rohit 102. But once the two of them fell, India’s middle order failed to keep up with the required run rate, as they fell short by 31 runs.