England’s best all-rounder Ben Stokes marked his return to cricket after a long injury layoff, hitting an 18-ball 29 and taking a wicket, as his County Durham team beat the Birmingham Bears by 22 points in the Vitality Blast T20 tournament here.
Stokes, 30, had to withdraw from the Indian Premier League (IPL) before his suspension after a fractured left index finger. He had surgery for it.
It was Stokes’ first T20 Blast match in three years and puts him on his way home for a one-day international series against Pakistan which kicks off in Cardiff on July 8.
Pakistan will tour England for a three-match ODI series starting July 8, which will be followed by a three-match T20I series starting July 16.
At bat first, Durham scored 185/4 in the 20 overs allowed, with Stokes smashing four limits and six during his 17-minute stay in the crease. He returned to the four-overs bowling alley where he took the wicket from well-placed Birmingham Bears middle-class batsman Sam Hain (35).
Durham limited the Birmingham Bears to 163/8, winning by 22 points.
“It was great to have Ben Stokes there. He brings a lot of energy to the team. He loves putting on the Durham jersey. Obviously, whatever team he’s playing for, he’s passionate about it. and determined to play every game. Today was not I hope he can stay a little longer, “Stokes’ Durham teammate of Australia Cameron Bancroft said.