Ben Stokes: Emotional farewell for Ben Stokes, but South Africa deny him a party

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It was an emotional farewell as Ben Stokes – the hero of England’s 2019 World Cup final triumph – played his last onedayer in front of his home crowd on Tuesday.

A visibly moved Stokes received a stirring round of applause from the Durham crowd as he led his team out into the ground in the first match against South Africa. The rest of the team let their captain walk out alone first and soak in the moment. When they caught up with Stokes, Buttler, who replaces him as captain for the rest of the series, held him in a brief hug.

The Proteas weren’t as accommodative. They crushed England by 62 runs in very hot conditions to deny Stokes a farewell win. Batting first after winning the toss, South Africa made 333 for five in their 50 overs and then bowled England out for 271.

Stokes was hit around for 44 runs in the five overs he bowled, and he went wicketless. When it was the star all-rounder’s turn at the batting crease, he made just five from 11 balls before he missed an attempted reverse sweep of Aiden Markram and was adjudged leg before wicket. He walked back to a standing ovation.

Stokes played 105 one-day international matches in his career and totalled 2,876 runs at an impressive average of 40.43. He also took 74 wickets at 41.59 apiece.

His abrupt retirement from ODIs was a nudge to cricket chiefs about the increasingly congested global schedule. Stokes said he could no longer take the workload of playing across all formats. He will continue to play Tests and T20 internationals.

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