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Rapidly improving Stokes takes 4 wickets for Durham

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Birmingham, June 27 (IANS) England all-rounder Ben Stokes showed he is making rapid progress as he gears up for the ODI series against Pakistan and the five-Test series against Indian in August September, when he took four wickets for 27 runs and played a fine cameo to inspire Durham’s 34-run victory over Birmingham Bears in the Vitality Blast T20 tournament.

Stokes was declared Player of the Match on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Stokes had to pull out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) before its suspension after a fracture to his left index finger. He underwent a surgery for it.

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Pakistan will tour England for a three match ODI series beginning July 8, which will be followed by a three-match T20I series commencing on July 16, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is hoping Stokes is fully fit for the series.

Stokes struck a 20-ball 35 and emerged the second-highest scorer for his team after skipper Cameron Bancroft (60), as Durham put 164/8 on the board in 20 overs.

The all-rounder then returned to grab the wickets of Sam Hain (2), Matthew Lamb (39), Michael Burgess (10) and Tim Bresnan (2) to destroy the Birmingham Bears, who were all out for 130 in 18.3 overs.

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On June 21, Stokes had marked his return to cricket after a long injury layoff, striking an 18-ball 29 and taking one wicket, as Durham had defeated Birmingham Bears by 22 runs in a Vitality Blast match.

–IANS

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