Abu Dhabi, Oct 25 (IANS) Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson made a mockery of a target of 196 set for them by the Mumbai Indians (MI) by helping Rajasthan Royals (RR) chase down with eight wickets and nearly two overs to spare. Stokes remained unbeaten on 107, thus scoring his second Indian Premier League (IPL) century and his highest score in T20s yet, while Samson was unbeaten on 54 as they ended their innings on 196/2 in reply to MI’s 195/5.
Stokes and Samson’s stunning assault produced as many as 65 runs between the 11th and 16th overs, thus leaving them needing 24 runs to chase off the last 24 balls. Their unbeaten third wicket partnership was worth a whopping 152 runs off just 82 balls after Stokes hit a six and a four off the first two balls of the 19th over bowled by James Pattinson to end the game. Pattinson was the only bowler to take wickets for MI, dismissing Stokes’ opener Robin Uthappa and RR captain Steve Smith early on in the innings.
Stokes is the first England player to have scored two centuries to his name in the IPL. He had earlier scored an unbeaten 103 for Rising Pune Supergiant against Gujarat Lions in the 2017 season. RR have also broken the record for the highest succesfull chase by any team against MI in the IPL. The win keeps RR’s slender hopes of making it to the playoffs alive as they remain level on points with fifth-placed Kings XI Punjab and two points behind fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.
Earlier, it was Hardik Pandya’s 21-ball 60 that propelled MI to 195/5. Pandya’s carnage meant that MI, who had been reeled in by RR after a good start, milked 79 runs of the last five overs. He hit four sixes in the 18th over bowled by Ankit Rajpoot and the over produced 27 runs. Kartik Tyagi bowled the last over in which Pandya hit three sixes and two fours, thus sending another over for 27 runs.
Brief scores: MI 195/5 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 60 not out, Suryakumar Yadav 40; Shreyas Gopal 2/30) vs RR 196/2 in 20 overs (Ben Stokes 107 not out, Sanju Samson 54 not out; James Pattinson 2/40)