Rajasthan Royals’ star all-rounder Ben Stokes has wished that his match-winning ton brought some happiness to his home where the conditions “are a bit tough.” Stokes scored a majestic 107* which powered Rajasthan to a comprehensive 8-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Sunday (October 25) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Stokes had made his comeback to competitive cricket after two months away from the game. He had opted out of England’s home series against Pakistan, midway, for personal reasons. Stokes, 29, then missed the entire series at home against Australia. While the official reason was not revealed, Stokes was apparently tending to his ailing father in New Zealand.
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) October 26, 2020
“It’s been an emotional time for you, as you raised your bat on this landmark tonight, what ran through your mind ?” Ian Bishop had asked Stokes at the post-match presentation.
“Yeah, things are a bit difficult at the moment but I will take a bit of solace that back home where the things are a bit tough, hopefully this (innings) has given then some happiness,” answered Stokes.
Chasing a target of 196, Stokes (107* off 60 balls) opened the innings with Robin Uthappa. Even though Uthappa and then skipper Steve Smith were dismissed early, Stokes played the role of the sheet anchor and joined forces with Sanju Samson (54* off 31 balls). The duo engaged in a mammoth 152-run stand for the third wicket and steered their side to an emphatic 8-wicket victory in the end.
Mumbai Indians had won the toss and opted to bat first. Rajasthan Royals did well to restrict them up until the middle overs but Hardik Pandya (60 off 21 balls; 6×7, 4×2) single-handedly took them to a solid 195/5, launching a frenzy of fireworks at the death. But, ultimately, Pandya’s power-hitting went in vain as Mumbai lost their fourth match of the season.
Rajasthan Royals now need just two wins from two matches to qualify for the IPL 2020 playoffs.