Ben Stokes returned to form in grand style as he smashed a match-winning hundred against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 on Sunday.
Stokes scored an unbeaten 107 off 60 deliveries to guide Rajasthan Royals (RR) to an 8-wicket win. The victory also kept his side’s chances for a playoff qualification alive.
After the match, Stokes asserted that it was “bittersweet” to have scored a century, stating that he would’ve preferred to play such a knock “two or three” games before.
“Sort of bittersweet to be honest – it took so long to get one for the team. I would have preferred to get this form two or three games before when we weren’t relying on other results to get us through to the qualifiers,” said Stokes in the post-match presentation.
“The harder shot to play was when they dug into the wicket. And we scored off Bumrah probably a lot freer than we thought we’d be able to,” he added.
Stokes came into the match after making scores of 30, 19, 15, 41, and 5. The 29-year-old revealed that he had his best training session on Saturday and took that confidence into the match.
“It’s always nice to get back to form. We needed a result from today, so – it’s a good victory. Training yesterday was the best I have had for the full time I have been here. Came into the game with a lot more confidence than the other games,” stated the Christchurch-born.
“Nice to spend some time out in the middle and finish the game off. The ball was coming on nicely – be it short or full. It was hard when they dug it into the wicket. We got ourselves into a great position by putting the pressure back on to every bowler who came on,” Stokes added further.
Stokes dedicated brilliant century to his father
Stokes joined the RR squad late in the tournament as he was with his family in New Zealand, where his father Gerard Stokes, is battling brain cancer. Gerard is currently undergoing treatment for the same.
The English all-rounder had left the Test series against Pakistan in July midway to spend time with his family.
After scoring a fantastic ton against MI, Stokes came up with a hand gesture dedicating his superb knock to his ailing father. He folded his middle finger and paid tribute to Gerard.
Stokes’s father was a rugby player. He had to cut-off his middle finger after an injury to continue playing because he couldn’t afford a surgery. This is the reason why Stokes celebrated his hundred by folding his middle finger.
During the post-match presentation, Stokes also said he hopes that this knock cheers his family.
“Things are a bit difficult right now, but hopefully, this has given a bit of happiness back home,” articulated Stokes.