Ben Stokes slammed a brilliant century as Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by eight wickets to stay alive in IPL 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 196 runs to win, Stokes made an unbeaten 107 off just 60 deliveries as he along with Sanju Samson (54, 31b, 4*4, 3*6) chased down the target in 18.2 overs.
“Sour and sweet to be honest – it took so long to get one for the team. We needed a result from today, so it’s a good victory,” Stokes who won the Man of the Match said.
“We came into the game with confidence. The ball was coming on nicely – be it short or full. The plan was to put pressure on every bowler, be it Bumrah or anyone. It’s a bit difficult at the moment, things are a bit tough back at home, hopefully, this will give them some happiness,” he added.
Samson, who started the tournament on a bright note, fizzled out mid-way but played a crucial knock to help Rajasthan stay alive.
“I kept on believing in myself. When you play 14 games continuously, you’ll have to go through ups and downs. I worked a bit on my game plan. In bigger grounds, on different wickets, you need to take more time, play more cricketing shots, that was the difference I did today.
“It was amazing (batting with Stokes). We have spent a good time out in the middle in the last three games, this was the best time with him, really enjoyed it. I was not looking at how many runs do we want or what the run-rate was. I was just reacting to the ball, my game plan is very simple, I just watch the ball and hit it if it is there. If it’s not, I take singles and doubles,” Samson said.
Winning skipper Steve Smith was pleased with his team’s performance and said the idea was to take the game deep in a tall run chase.
“Very pleased, that’s what we’re crying for, use the experience, take the game deep and that’s what both Stokes and Samson did. The wicket was playing good, the ball was coming onto the bat, there was the intent – the shots were flowing, they just played good cricketing shots – I thought the partnership was fantastic,” Smith said.
Losing skipper Kieron Pollard rued the fact that his team failed to make inroads and lauded Stokes and Samson for taking the attack to the opposition.
” I thought they batted well. Hardik brought us straight back in the game with that knock at the halfway stage. We could have got a couple of wickets more, but the wicket ended up becoming a little better. Their spinners got some help from the pitch, but our spinners couldn’t do that. At the end of the day, someone wins, someone loses. We just have to come out and play good cricket. Our bowlers tried, but well played to the opposition,” Pollard said.
“It’s been a thrilling run-chase from the Royals of Rajasthan. They badly needed to win, but I’m pretty sure no one saw this audacious chase coming. Chasing a tall target, they have made a mockery of MI’s bowling. The left-handed Stokes led the assault and Samson followed suit. 107 for 2 after 12 overs soon became 172 for 2 after 16 – such was the ferociousness of this chase,” he added.