IPL 2020: RR vs MI Review – Ben Stokes’ century helps Royals chase down 196

Rajasthan Royals have found their mojo at the right time in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They have defeated the table-toppers Mumbai Indians comfortably by 8 wickets to stay alive in the tournament. After opting to bat first, the four-time champions got off to a poor start with Quinton de Kock getting out early. However, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav batted well to add 83 runs in less than 10 overs.

But then MI lost all the momentum losing quick wickets. At one stage, they had only posted 121 runs after 16 overs on the board. Hardik Pandya launched an amazing counter-attack then to leave the Royals stunned. He took on Ankit Rajpoot and Kartik Tyagi smashing a total of seven sixes together in their two overs and propelled the team’s score to 195/6 after 20 overs.

The momentum in the chase was with MI and James Pattinson made sure it stayed with them in the powerplay too. The pacer sent back Robin Uthappa and Steve Smith back in the hut early. However, Ben Stokes had got off to a quick-fire start at the other end and little did anyone know that he would return to form in a must-win game against the table-toppers.

The southpaw took Sanju Samson by his side and played beautifully thumping probably the best bowling attack of the season. Samson too displayed his class playing some eye-catching strokes and the duo didn’t get out at all. The unbeaten 152-run stand left MI stunned as the Royals got over the line in the 19th over itself to stay alive in the playoff race.

Turning Points

Shreyas Gopal’s double-wicket: While Ben Stokes and Samson batted superbly and were the architects of the win, one should also appreciate the way Shreyas Gopal bowled in the middle overs. He sent back the dangerous-looking Suryakumar Yadav in the 13th over and then castled Kieron Pollard to suck the momentum out of the innings. The way Hardik Pandya batted in the last four overs, if not Gopal’s double strike, RR would’ve been chasing a total well in excess of 200.

Top performers

Records/Personal Milestones

Ben Stokes scored his second IPL century

Kieron Pollard completed 300 catches in T20 cricket.

Way ahead

MI next face RCB in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday while the Royals take a four-day break before they lock horns against Kings XI Punjab in a crucial face-off on Friday at the same venue.