For England's best ODI team, this is their biggest match. This is also the Ashes year, but for now, no one wants to talk about it as the hosts want to walk all over Australia and book their spot in the finals. And for that to happen, Ben Stokes needs to stand up, he is their marquee player and he is in good shape.
"Is this the most important game I've played? Yes, to date. Definitely," Stokes said. "Playing against Australia is a big occasion in any sport. The rivalry goes way back. Beating them is that touch better than any other team. Losing to them at Lord's was massively disappointing, so I think there will be a bit of redemption in knowing we have the chance to beat them and get to that final."
Stokes has been the clutch man in the middle order
And there are numbers which prove that Stokes has been a real rock in the middle order all through this competition. He has the most 50+ scores (4) for England's middle order (#4 - #7) in this WC 2019.
Their middle order has the best batting average of 37.06 in this year's World Cup. Also, their strike rate is 109.24 which is the best this World Cup. Also, with 8 fifty-plus scores, they have the maximum runs to have been scored by a middle-order. Only England's middle order is the only side which has been able to score more than 1,000 runs this tournament.
And Ben Stokes has been in the midst of all this - he has averaged 54.42 with the bat at a strike rate of 95.01. However, his form with the ball has been impressive for England and this has also given the all-rounder immense satisfaction. He has bowled only 43.5 overs in the nine games and has picked up seven wickets. Although the wickets have not come, his economy rate of 4.65 runs per over has made him England's most frugal bowler this tournament.
"But the most pleasing thing has been my bowling. I had a chat with Eoin Morgan to get my head around my role. Being fourth or fifth seamer, I sometimes put too much pressure on myself to influence the game. So I spoke to them about not trying to take a wicket every ball and instead aim at going for five or six an over," the all-rounder added.