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Ben Stokes backs England to reach top of ODI rankings

Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes celebrate England's victory

Stokes (right) was named man of the series after England’s 2-1 win

All-rounder Ben Stokes believes England can top the one-day rankings if they maintain their recent form.

Stokes played a key role with an unbeaten 47 as England won the deciding match with Bangladesh in Chittagong.

It was their third successive one-day series victory, following home wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan this year.

“It’s really exciting,” Stokes told Sky Sports. “If we carry on like this we’ll achieve our target of being world number one.”

Going into Wednesday’s match, England were fifth in the ODI rankings, behind Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India.

Stokes, who scored his maiden ODI international century in the first match and was named man of the series, added: “The team we have had together for the last 18 months have been playing unbelievable cricket.”

In the absence of skipper Eoin Morgan in Bangladesh, Jos Buttler captained the side with Stokes as his vice-captain.

“Me and Jos work quite well,” said Stokes. “We’re quite aggressive in how we want to play our cricket, not just with the bat and the ball, but with field placings.”

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Bangladesh posted 277-6 after winning the toss and batting first but England won with four wickets and 13 balls to spare.

And afterwards England coach Trevor Bayliss said he was pleased with half-centuries from inexperienced batsmen Ben Duckett, 21, and Sam Billings, 25, in the pressure of a run chase under the Chittagong lights.

Billings was playing his fifth ODI and Duckett his third – but both have experience from playing for the England Lions development team.

“They have been set up well with the Lions. It gives them confidence coming into a confident group,” said Bayliss. “Their performance shows that.

“Billings has a good head on his shoulders. The future looks bright for him. Duckett is also a power player. I suppose we are experimenting going forward and some of those are paying dividends.”

The coach expects regular ODI skipper Morgan and opening batsman Alex Hales, who both chose not to tour Bangladesh because of security concerns, to come back into the team.

“I would like to think they will,” the Australian said. “Morgan has been fantastic for the team and Hales has four centuries this year. The best pressure is from within. It will keep everyone on their toes.”

He also praised Buttler for leading the side in the absence of Morgan and said: “We know what Jos can do with the bat but the way he captained the team is a credit to him.”

Buttler said: “It’s a great group to captain. Our biggest goal is trying to become number one in the world. If we want to become that, you’ve got to come away and win series like these in tough conditions.”

Bangladesh counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza lamented: “Until the end we fought it out. But England were too good. They played really well.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/37638552