Stokes made runs, picked wickets and was exceptional on the field as the hosts thumped South Africa. Getty

The build-up to the World Cup for Ben Stokes wasn't particularly great, considering his form in the Indian Premier League. Averaging only 20.50 with the bat for his 123 runs in nine matches, with a bowling average of 31.50 and an economy of 11.22 for his six wickets, Stokes's X-factor and his match-winning abilities went missing for a long portion of Rajasthan Royals' misfiring campaign, even as his England team-mates Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer were making the most out of the tournament.

But come the World Cup, Stokes put on an exhibition of his credentials and the immense value he brings to the team with an all-round display that set the tone for England's winning start to their first home World Cup in 20 years.

Following a century stand involving Jason Roy and Joe Root, England were in a slight spot of bother when they lost quick wickets which left them at 111 for 3. Stokes came to the team's rescue along with skipper Eoin Morgan to rebuild the platform for England. But when South Africa fought back again by running through England's much-envied middle-order options, Stokes stood tall and ensured a 300-plus score for England when they were in danger of being restricted below that.

A 79-ball 89 set up England's total of 311 but Stokes wasn't finished yet as he had a few contributions to make while on the field, which included a couple of catches and a run out, along with two wickets to his name to round off a complete performance in the game that helped him win the Man of the Match award in ODIs since February 2018. Awards aside, what pleased Stokes was that he was a constant influence in both the innings of England's opening game.

"The best thing about being an all-rounder is you can influence the game pretty much the whole 100 overs - it is always nice when you can contribute to the team winning," said Stokes after the game, adding that getting the win was especially pleasing after the long wait for the World Cup to get underway. "The most pleasing thing is we have got the first game out of the way and winning like that. There were a few nerves knocking about, there definitely was for me and I have not felt like that in a long time. There has been such a long build-up to the world cup and answering questions on it for about a year now, and now we are finally here and it's nice to walk away with a win."

Being part of the game throughout was a point Stokes made quite a few times during his interaction with the media. While he certainly made his presence felt with both the bat and ball, he also left the viewers in awe when he took a stunning one-handed catch leaping back and holding the ball mid-air to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo.

"The crowd's reaction behind me was pretty awesome - I just tried to take that in as much as I could," said Stokes. "I bowled the next over and Morgs [Eoin Morgan] had to come to me and ask if everything was alright if my heart rate had gone down - things like that catch (can) do (to) get you fizzed up. The crowd today were phenomenal which is the best thing about having a home world cup

"When you do take catches like that, especially when you know you've started in the wrong position - made a relatively straightforward catch into a hard one - but I didn't really know, quite hard to react to be honest, I just tried to take it in."