Kolkata, Jan 23: The last-ball win in the dead third ODI against India turned out to be a moment of redemption for England's Ben Stokes, who said the match-winning effort at the Eden Gardens here has exorcised the ghosts of World T20 final loss at the same venue.
Stokes turned out to be the fall guy in England's loss in the World Twenty20 final in Kolkata last April when he was clobbered for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the last over to lift the trophy for the West Indies.
But Stokes played an instrumental role in handing England it's first win in the tour on Sunday (Jan 22). He first scored a powerful 57 not out and then took three wickets for 63 to give the visitors a tense five-run win over India in the third and final ODI.
"There was a bit of banter flying round with the lads in the warm-up days, so it was nice to come back here and get rid of any bad memories from that game (World T20 final). But having said that it was just another game of cricket and it was nice to get the win," Stokes said at the post-match press conference last night.
"It was nine months ago so memories of that have gone now," added the all-rounder, who celebrated the day with a customary cake-cutting in the changing room after their narrow five-run win.
Stokes produced an all-round effort on Sunday. After his exploits with the bat, he picked up crucial wickets of India captain Virat Kohli (55), Hardik Pandya (56) and Ravichandran Ashwin en route to his 3-63 bowling spell to derail India's chase.
"It's nice to come out here and perform decently. But personally I feel there is still room for improvement with the ball. I've been very expensive over the last few series.
"Consistency is something I'm trying to work on because top players of the world are going to pounce on any bad ball," he said.
With India needing 16 runs off the last over in their pursuit of 322, England skipper Eoin Morgan handed the ball to Chris Woakes.
Even though Woakes was hit for a six and a boundary by Kedar Jadhav in the first two deliveries, the English pacer came back strongly with two dot balls before dismissing Jadhav in the penultimate delivery.
Stokes was full of praise for his colleague Woakes, who gave away just 10 runs in the final over.
"It was a brilliant show. You're under pressure as a bowler when the first few balls go for boundaries. It's tough but if you can manage to get the bloke (Jadhav) out, you're right back in the game," he said.
"They needed six off four balls but I still I thought we were favourites a couple of good yorkers, a couple of singles and we're favourites to win.
"It was a good bit of fielding by Sam (Billings) on the boundary to get rid of Jadhav. Credit to Woakesy (Woakes) for holding his nerve," Stokes concluded.