Moved up to bat at three in the absence of Joe Root, Stokes thrilled with a 52-ball 99 in Pune as the tourists won by six wickets with 39 deliveries to spare, Jonny Bairstow having scored a century as England comfortably chased down India's 336-6.
The result came on the heels of Tuesday's chastening 66-run loss, when England collapsed to 251 all out as Stokes scored just one run from 11 balls, and means the series will go to a decider on Sunday.
Stokes was delighted to see England produce such a classy response to that setback, even in the absence of injured captain Eoin Morgan, as his side stayed true to their attacking principles.
That was simply sensational
Scorecard: https://t.co/yBG14B86u6March 26, 2021
"I think the most pleasing thing for us as a team is we didn't go away from our values," he said, having built on the platform laid by Bairstow and Jason Roy's 110-run opening stand. "We were bitterly disappointed after the first ODI.
"It was a great chase and I'm happy we were able to go over the line fairly easily despite India putting up a big total.
"It was a better wicket but we don't really fear any totals to be honest. It would have been easy to rein ourselves in after the last game but from a personal and team point of view, it was important to play as we do.
"We speak about match-ups in our changing room and my match-up was with the spinners to take the risk, just let Jonny keep going on with his business. He's in unbelievable form.
"The amount of runs they [Roy and Bairstow] have scored is obviously amazing, but if you look at the way they have scored it's even better – best in the world in my opinion."
Pune will again play host to the third and final match this weekend.
England's victory on Friday also ensured that a 3-0 series defeat will be avoided, meaning India cannot leapfrog into top spot in the ODI rankings.