Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith praised ‘exceptional’ Ben Stokes for his man-of-the-match performance in the win over Kings XI Punjab in the IPL in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Stokes scored 50 off 26 balls and claimed two wickets against Punjab to back up his unbeaten hundred in the win over Mumbai Indians last Sunday.
“Ben is a class player, plays proper shots. He hits the balls in weird areas, and did a job with the ball too. [He is] one of the best in the world,”said Smith.
Smith also had praise for Sanju Samson, who scored a 25-ball 48, for putting the Royals in control of the chase after Stokes’ blazing start.
“Sanju started the tournament really well, then in the middle couldn’t get going, but that is T20 cricket. You have got to keep trusting the process,” said the Australian.
The Royals moved to fifth on the table with 12 points with their final fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday.
“The season has ebbed and flowed, yes. [It] Would have been nice to have a couple of wins in the middle. We still need to do a bit to make the playoffs, and we need things to go our way. Having said that, if that happens, we are playing very good cricket,” said Smith.
After having posted 185 with the bat, Kings XI skipper KL Rahul felt the bowlers struggled to bowl in the second half of the game due to dew.
“It was a horrible toss to lose with the amount of dew later on. It did get very, very easy to bat on. The wristspinners want the ball to be dry and get some grip off the surface but with the dew it got really difficult. On a sticky wicket, as it was when we batted, this was not a bad total.
“We didn’t bowl badly, but we need to learn to bowl better with the wet ball. The dew has been unpredictable. We spoke to the groundsman, and he said there was no dew last game,” reflected Rahul.