Ben Stokes on Sunday night proved why he’s regarded as the best all-rounder in international cricket as he showcased his batting prowess to guide his side, Rajasthan Royals, to an emphatic IPL victory against Mumbai Indians. Chasing 196 to win, Stokes played an unbelievable knock of 107 NOT OUT in 60 balls to ensure that his side remained in contention for the playoff stage in the ongoing competition.
Batting first, Mumbai Indians had put up a total of 195-5 in 20 overs with Hardik Pandya playing a quickfire knock of 60 NOT OUT in 21 balls. His knock included seven sixes and two fours. Suryakumar Yadav made 40, while Ishan Kishan contributed with 37.
Rajasthan Royals’ chase began on an apprehensive note as they lost their opening batsman Robin Uthappa for just 13 when the team’s total was also 13 in the second over. Stokes, who joined the IPL late and has been unable to showcase his batting prowess up until now, was phenomenal with the bat as he went on to score runs in balls. He completed his century with a six by facing just 59 balls. His partner on the other end, Sanju Samson too remained not out at 54 in 31 balls.
Together they also added 152 runs for the third wicket. Before today’s match, the team eld by Steve Smith was placed at the bottom of the points table with 8 points in 11 matches.
Reacting to his side’s loss, Keiren Pollard said, “I thought Hardik brought us straight back into the game, but well played to Stokes and well played to Samson. The wicket ended up being a good wicket with a little bit of dew. It played into their strengths. But having said that, well played to the opposition. It really doesn’t do much to the campaign, we still have three games to do. We just have to come out with good cricket. Our bowlers tried but it wasn’t meant to be today. Hardik keeps showing time and time again, doesn’t matter the position of the team. Tough luck an innings like that he ends up on the losing side.”
Smith said, “Very pleased. That’s what we’ve been crying out for, two of our experienced players to take it deep and the way they played, very pleased. I think the wicket was playing good today, the ball was coming on nice. I think Stokes’ intent from the first ball – he got into a nice groove tonight. They just played good cricket shots to keep the rate in check. We did a lot of things right, taking wickets in the middle, but the dropped catch was pretty costly in the middle. Great hitting from Hardik, probably didn’t get our plans right either. I just hope our batters from tonight can take a bit of confidence and momentum into the next two games. It’s what we’ve lacked, out experienced batters getting winning scores.”
Ben Stokes was awarded the Man Of Match trophy for his second IPL century.