Ben Stokes fires up RR hopes

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Ben Stokes is considered the world’s greatest all rounder and yesterday he showed us why.

In what was one of the great IPL innings, Stokes plundered 107 in just 60 balls at a strike rate of 178.

14 fours and 3 sixes rained from his bat as he revived RR’s hopes for a playoff berth, almost single-handedly.

Though it was Dushera, RR began on an inauspicious note.

Robin Uthappa who has never looked convincing in the tournament, fell to an ugly hoick, off Pattinson and was comfortably caught by Pollard.

Uthappa, who was clearly in the twilight of his IPL career, perished as he tried to over-hit the ball instead of letting the ball come to him. A clear sign of a batsman not in the best of form.

Next to go was Steve Smith, who was cleaned up by Pattinson.

The score stood at a perilous 44 for 2.

Stokes had struggled in his earlier innings so Mumbai may have started harbouring thoughts of an easy win.

But Stokes jolted them out of their reverie by smashing four boundaries off Trent Boult in the third over.

It was a window into what was to follow.

Stokes launched a brutal offensive against Krunal Pandya, who might have been guilty of the kind of aggressive behaviour that draws a reaction.

And what a reaction it was!

Stokes went on a hitting spree, smashing two fours off Pandya.

He also swept Rahul Chahar over deep midwicket for a six, his first of the season.

And the next ball was met with a reverse sweep that sped past backward point, a sign that Stokes had grown into confidence.

In ten overs, the score stood at 99 for 2.

Royals complete the job

One would have thought RR will relax after having climbed out of the hole.

But both Stokes and partner Samson were in no mood to let the advantage slip.

Samson, whose form had dipped after a fine start to the tournament, cracked a well-made 54 off 31 balls.

They stitched together a mammoth 152 run partnership and delivered a crushing victory, against what is regarded as IPL’s strongest side.

They reached the target with 10 balls to spare.

The 13th over and 14th overs were vital as RR smashed 37 runs in 12 balls and effectively swung the momentum towards themselves.

Both the MI spearheads Boult and Bumrah were ineffective, going for 78 runs in 8 overs.

The spinners, Krunal Pandya and Chahar went for 56 runs in 5 overs.

MI post fighting total

The biggest strength of this Mumbai side is that it’s not reliant on a solitary performer, in bowling or in batting.

Like many Champion sides, they always find someone to do the job.

Batting first, MI lost De Kock cheaply for 6, to an Archer special but Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav took the score to 90.

3 wickets fell for 11 runs, in quick succession and once agin, MI was on the back foot.

Saurabh Tiwary and Hardik Pandya counter-attacked brilliantly with a superb 64 run stand.

Pandya was in demonic touch while flaying the attack for 2 fours and 7 sixes! His 60 came in just 21 balls. Tiwary blasted 34 in 25 balls.

Ankit Rajpoot bore the brunt of Pandya’s fury going for 60 runs in 4 overs!

While MI batted brilliantly, there were a few bowling moments that stood out too.

The ball of the day was a perfect googly from Shreyas Gopal’s that rearranged Pollard’s stumps.

The win keeps kept the Royals in contention for the playoffs.

They are now sixth on the points table with ten points from 12 games. However, it also eliminates CSK from IPL 2020 as they have no chance even if they win all their matches.

Rajasthan Royals 196 for 2 (Stokes 107*, Samson 54*, Pattinson 2-40) beat Mumbai Indians 195 for 5 (Hardik 60*, Yadav 40, Gopal 2-30) by eight wickets

Cover image credit: Indian Premier League