Stokes, a controversial omission from England’s World Cup squad in Australasia, revelled on a flat pitch and a small ground as he came in at 123 for three in the 24th over and hammered seven fours and 15 sixes to take the tourists to a massive 378 for six.
He then shone with the ball taking three wickets as the England Lions bowled SA A out for 289, giving them a 3-0 lead in the five-match series with one game to play. Stokes looks like someone who England could really use at the World Cup, being a terrifically clean striker and a brisk seamer.
South Africa A’s execution of their bowling skills at the death was disappointing, with way too many full tosses and long-hops, but you have to give credit to Stokes for taking full, ruthless advantage.
Chris Morris was the one bowler to survive relatively unscathed, managing to find the right lengths as he took three for 50 in his 10 overs, but the other SA A bowlers can’t be happy with their performances. David Wiese went for 82 runs in 10 overs, Marchant de Lange 81 and Mthokozisi Shezi 74, while spinners Eddie Leie and Dean Elgar conceded 42 and 44 runs respectively in five overs each.
Opener Jason Roy scored 67 off 72 balls and there were a pair of 34s from James Vince and Jonny Bairstow to provide a platform for Stokes to bring SA A to their knees.
Morris emerged as the best of the bowlers as he had Alex Lees caught behind for 10, removed Bairstow, spooning a catch into the covers, and then yorked Sam Billings, who belted 55 off 36 balls in a late blast.
The England Lions attack featured one of yesterday’s heroes in Tim Bresnan, but they all bowled with much better discipline and skill, and backed that with good intensity in the field.
Reeza Hendricks was out early, caught at square-leg off Mark Wood for nine, but Elgar then added 63 for the second wicket with Stiaan van Zyl (28).
The lanky Boyd Rankin removed Van Zyl with a short ball and with Bresnan removing the in-form Theunis de Bruyn for nine, SA A were falling behind on 89 for three after 17 overs.
A series of useful but ultimately vain partnerships with the middle and lower-order followed, with Elgar scoring a top-class 79 off 84 balls. But he was hampered by a throw that hit him on the ankle bone and was run out by wicketkeeper Bairstow soon thereafter.
Justin Ontong made 22 and Dane Vilas 29, before Wiese and Morris added 50 for the seventh wicket in just 5.2 overs before Stokes produced a full, straight delivery to bowl Wiese for 37 and settle the outcome.
Morris went on to score a highly-entertaining 58 not out off just 33 balls, but it was never going to deny the English a crunching victory.