The dangerous Stokes was on 57 and batting with last man Mark Wood when he pulled a delivery from Lasith Malinga bowling his last over of the innings to deep midwicket where Mendis put down a tough chance. Had he held the catch it would have been all over for England at that stage as they required 46 runs for victory
The dropped chance also deprived match-winner bowler Malinga of a five-for in a World Cup.
He had to be eventually satisfied with four wickets for 43 runs, but along with it he added another feather in his cap by becoming only the fourth bowler in the World Cup to take 50 wickets. Stokes made use of the dropped catch to chance his arm and hammer Isuru Udana for two consecutive sixes in an over that cost the bowler 15 runs.
That was the time when Mendis became nervous as England started to edge towards their victory target which was now reduced to 30 off 24 balls and Stokes was a player who was capable of winning it for his team with his broad bat. “I missed a catch and was very scared. But Nuwan (Pradeep) got that wicket and when he did, I said thanks to God,” said Mendis. “Against the world No.1 team, it was a great opportunity and a great win. We know we have lost a lot of ODI matches in the last two years. But today we came to the World Cup,” he said.