Stokes hits an England record 182 to lead England to a victory by 181 runs over New Zealand

At the KIA Oval, Ben Stokes dispelled any concerns that may have been raised about his ability to play 50-over cricket following a retirement from one-day internationals that lasted for 14 months. He smashed his fourth century in the format off of 76 balls, then drove on to post the best score in the format by an Englishman with 182 off of 124 to set up a crushing victory against New Zealand. His performance helped England set up a scenario in which they were able to defeat New Zealand.

Stokes walked out of the crease in the third over as Trent Boult was swinging the new ball and England was in trouble at 13 for 2, but he and Dawid Malan enjoyed a third-wicket partnership that was worth 199 and took 165 balls to complete. Lockie Ferguson was the victim of a vicious attack from him, as he was scored 56 runs off of the 30 balls he faced from him. In all, Lockie Ferguson's nine overs were unsuccessful and cost 80 runs.

Stokes's frenzied play began as he charged down the field while skipping outside leg stump to allow himself opportunity to play on the off side. He had 13 off 19 when Ferguson came into the attack, and he immediately tried to take him on. In Ferguson's second over, he smashed three boundaries in four balls, one of which was via a thick leading edge.

That was enough to get Stokes going, and from that point on he played at a tempo that was comparable to the one he used during the Ashes earlier this summer. His game consisted of prodded and scuffed singles interspersed with deliberate and disdainful swipes into the bleachers. A skip-down-and-swing off Glenn Phillips was the best of the group, and it was caught in the second tier of the Pavilion.

Stokes made the decision to stand and play despite the knee ailment he was experiencing. He smashed nine sixes, six of which came in his final 31 balls at the crease. When he holed out to square leg while attempting to hit a ninth, the sell-out audience stood to praise the hero of England's 2019 World Cup victory. The sell-out crowd was no doubt inspired with the hope that he might still lead England to a successful defense of their championship in India.

"It's good to come back in after a while out and put in a big contribution into us winning the game," Stokes remarked after making his return to action after an absence of some time. "On a personal level, today was beneficial for me since it allowed me to review the format of a 50-over cricket game. I wanted to go out there and put them under a little bit of strain after we lost a few wickets very quickly. When I looked up, there were still 23–24 overs remaining... you have a lot more time than you think you have. There were a handful of moments when I had to remind myself to check myself because of this.

"I didn't really know [about the record] until the bloke on the tannoy announced it - then I got out next ball," he added. "I didn't really know [about the record] until the bloke on the tannoy announced it." "There were a couple of stages where I was scoring quite freely and felt like I wanted to keep going and going and going... in 50-over cricket, we always want to go out and put on big scores, but [it was a case of] realizing how much more time I had," he said. "There were a couple of stages where I was scoring quite freely and felt like I wanted to keep going and going and going."

It didn't take long for New Zealand's attempt to pursue 369 to devolve into little more than glorified middle practice. Chris Woakes finished his first session with 3 for 31 and ended the game as a contest after bowling eight overs on the reel from the Pavilion End. Phillips, who scored a career-best 72, was the only batter to reach 30 as New Zealand was bowled out for 187.

While Stokes was the star of the show, this may have been the day when England's World Cup team found its footing. After experiencing his second back spasm in a span of six days, Malan came back from paternity leave and capitalized on the opportunity presented to him when Jason Roy was forced to miss a third consecutive One-Day International. It was his second half-century of the series, and it was his eighth 50-plus score out of 20 in one-day internationals. His 96 came off 95 balls.

When England announced their tentative 15-man team a month ago, it seemed as though Malan would be playing the role of the spare batter. Malan's position appeared to be in jeopardy following his release by Trent Rockets in the Hundred and a lackluster performance in the T20I series, not to mention the fact that Harry Brook, who did not make the first cut, was making an enticing argument.

However, it is becoming increasingly probable that Dawid Malan will play for England on October 5, when they take on New Zealand in the opening game of the World Cup in Ahmedabad. If he does play, it is highly possible that he will start the batting with Jonny Bairstow. And if Malan is penciled in for that position, it's possible that Brook may push over Roy for the last batting berth in the team, given his adaptability and Roy's spotty record of fitness.

Following England's victory on Sunday at the Ageas Bowl, Jos Buttler and his teammates discussed "freeing ourselves up" and "trying to get back to being even more positive, even more aggressive." Malan and Stokes replied appropriately, putting up a 100-run stand in 15.1 overs. Malan attacked the new ball, with six crisply-struck boundaries inside the first 10 overs. Stokes answered by bringing up the last 50 runs of the stand.

Malan was normally strong on the pull, twice hitting Ben Lister over square leg for four, and he raced into the 80s by lashing Kyle Jamieson over long-on. Malan's performance on the pull was typical. After getting a touch bogged as the score reached three figures, he strangled Boult down the leg side, but by the time 212 for 3 had been scored after 30.1 overs, he had created the right framework.

They were unable to turn it into a score of more than 400, which appeared to be certain, and as a result, they wasted 11 balls as their bottom order disintegrated. Buttler had a brief moment of brilliance, scoring 38 runs off 24 balls, but Stokes' departure in the 45th over began a fall of 5 for 20; Boult, the pick of the New Zealand attack, secured a sixth ODI five-for by moving Gus Atkinson's stumps to complete the clean sweep.

There was some relief for New Zealand when they got possession of the ball. They depended on two allrounders, Phillips and Rachin Ravindra, to bowl spin after Mitchell Santner suffered a knee injury at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday and Ish Sodhi was given the day off. However, neither Jamieson nor Lister are expected to play a role for them in the World Cup, unless they suffer an injury.

But Stokes made sure that England made the most of their opportunity by hitting 59 runs off of the 35 spin balls he faced. His score included three big sixes, which rendered Ravindra useless after his second over. It came as a surprise to everyone when he was bowled out by Lister in the end, but not before he broke Roy's record for the highest innings scored by an Englishman in one-day internationals.

With Adil Rashid and Mark Wood both kept in cotton wool - or, at the very least, in luminous green bibs in the substitutes' dugout - England were also without their two main bowlers in their defense, but it hardly mattered: Woakes had Will Young caught behind and Henry Nicholls miscuing to square leg, and his inswinger rattled Tom Latham's stumps. Woakes also had Will Young caught behind.

New Zealand was reduced to 37 for 4 after Devon Conway was leg before wicket to Reece Topley. This left the Kiwis in a precarious position until Sam Curran had Daryl Mitchell caught behind and Moeen Ali bowled Ravindra with an arm ball. As the asking rate increased, Phillips proceeded to hit a couple of pointless sixes; by the time he was given out lbw on review for the first of Liam Livingstone's three wickets, The Oval was already halfway empty.