Ben Stokes roared back to form on Sunday with an unbeaten 107 that helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) race to an eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The win provides a filip to RR's floundering chances of making it to the playoffs, which still depends upon the results of other matches.
"It's sort of bittersweet to be honest. You know, I’m a bit taken aback by why it's taken me so long to get into the tournament for the team. I would have preferred to get into this form 2-3 games ago when we weren’t relying on other results to get us through to the qualifiers," said Stokes in the post-match presentation ceremony, in which he was declared player of the match.
Stokes came into the match after scores of 30, 19, 15, 41, and 5 thus far in the IPL. He said that he had his best training session on Saturday, since coming to the UAE and took that confidence into the match.
His innings on Sunday helped RR chase down a target of 196 with eight wickets and more than two overs to spare and was part of an unbeaten 152-run stand for the third wicket with Sanju Samson.
“To be honest the training I've had yesterday was the best I had throughout my time here, so I came into this with a bit of confidence. It was nice to spend some time in the middle and finish the game off,” he said.
During the post-match presentation, Ian Bishop also asked Stokes about his celebration following the century landmark. “It’s been an emotional time for you for many reasons. As you raised your bat on the landmark, what ran through your mind,” asked Bishop, referring to Stokes’ father back in New Zealand who is fighting cancer.
“Things are a bit difficult at the moment. I take a bit of solace that back home where things are a bit tough at the moment, hopefully that’s given him a bit of happiness at the moment,” said the England all-rounder who joined his RR franchise late so as to spend time with his father and family in New Zealand.
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