England all-rounder Ben Stokes was under immense pressure in the 2019 World Cup final last year where he played a heroic knock to take the game into a Super Over before opting for a ‘cigarette break’.
An under-pressure Ben Stokes went for a smoke break as he calmed nerves before the Super Over of the 2019 World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s. Stokes was the man-of-the-match as England won their maiden ODI World Cup title in a dramatic fashion on boundary counts with the Super Over also ending in a tie.
As per a book titled ‘Morgan’s Men: The Inside Story of England’s Rise from Cricket World Cup Humiliation to Glory’, Stokes was under immense pressure with a packed stadium and multiple cameras recording their every movement.
New Zealand opted to bat first and posted 241/8 in 50 overs. Stokes then almost dragged England home scoring an unbeaten 84 but the hosts were bowled out for 241 in 50 overs with the final heading to Super Over.
Excerpts from the book, penned by Nick Hoult and Steve James, have been published on stuff.co.nz, which describe what was going on behind the scenes as England stitched their strategy
“Finding a quiet spot as the frenzy of the Super Over approached was hard in a ground packed out with 27,000 supporters and television cameras following the players from the middle, through the Long Room and up the stairs to the dressing room,” Hoult and James write.
“But Ben Stokes had played at Lord’s many times. He knows every nook and cranny. As Eoin Morgan tries to bring calm to the England dressing room and sort out their tactics, Stokes nips off for a moment of peace.
“He is covered in dirt and sweat. He has batted for two hours and 27 minutes of unbelievable tension. What does Stokes do? He goes to the back of the England dressing room, past the attendant’s little office and into the showers. There he lights up a cigarette and has few minutes on his own,” the book claims.
England sent Stokes and Jos Buttler to bat in the Super Over and they scored 15.Eventually, New Zealand also managed to score 15 runs and the World Cup was awarded to England on the basis of scoring more boundaries in the match.