Moeen Ali backing England star Ben Stokes to find form at T20 World Cup

Moeen Ali has thrown his support behind a struggling Ben Stokes ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Stokes has had a couple of scratchy innings since returning to the T20 fold and is running out of time to find some rhythm at the crease before England begin their World Cup campaign a week on Saturday.

While he has been dismissed for single-figure scores in their ongoing series against Australia, Stokes opened the bowling in the second T20 at Canberra and later took the prize wicket of Mitch Marsh, having earlier demonstrated his wide-ranging capabilities with an acrobatic piece of fielding off the batter.

England's Test captain plucked a lofted drive out of the air and in the same motion flung the ball back into the field before momentum carried him over the rope to prevent a certain six, saving four runs.

England's narrow margin of victory by eight runs meant the moment carried extra weight, amplifying the sizeable benefits of Stokes, who has been backed by Moeen to go up an extra gear at the World Cup.

"When the big games come, he'll score runs and that's what you want from your gun players," Moeen said.

"Ben offers so much even if he's not scoring runs, like (when) he opened the bowling (on Wednesday night) and bowled really well and he was brilliant in the field - that effort was amazing.

"I don't care if Ben doesn't score any runs in the next couple of games because once the World Cup comes, I'm sure he'll be fine. Even if he doesn't score runs, he's a great player to have in your team."

Moeen put on 92 in 8.4 overs with Dawid Malan, who, back in his normal position of three in the batting order after being shuffled down to number seven at Perth, thumped 82 from 49 balls at the Manuka Oval.

There is a perception Malan takes time to get going - although that opinion is slowly changing - and Moeen believes the former top-ranked T20 batter in the world, is undervalued by those outside the team.

"People don't give him the credit because we have such explosive players but the guy's a special player, he's a top player - he's been playing well," Moeen said.

"I feel people are on his back at times for no reason. He always scores runs and he scores them quickly - he's a great player and he's underestimated massively."

Moeen, who amassed 44 off 27 balls as England moved into an unassailable 2-0 lead with one to play, was captain for the recent 4-3 series win in Pakistan with Jos Buttler still recovering from a calf injury.

Buttler is now back and guaranteed his first series win since succeeding Eoin Morgan as white-ball skipper after a tough summer against India and South Africa in ODIs and T20s.

England could be hitting their straps at just the right time ahead of the World Cup but Moeen insisted there was never any concern among the senior players about where they were heading.

"The summer was a natural transition from Morgs," Moeen added. "The team was going through change and was always going to have a dip. And we did play two very good teams.

"I personally wasn't worried and I don't think Jos was worried, speaking to him. It wasn't about being worried, it was just knowing what the next step is and building on that next step."

Mark Wood could return for Friday's final T20 against Australia as England look to complete a series clean sweep over the defending world champions, with the fast bowler rested on Wednesday.

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