Stokes shocked it took so lengthy

Dubai, October 26

Rajasthan Royals allrounder Ben Stokes roared back into form with a scintillating century against Mumbai Indians on Sunday but is surprised how long it took him to make an impact in this year’s IPL.

Stokes joined his IPL team late, after spending time with his ailing father in New Zealand, and managed 110 runs in his first five matches without hitting a six.

He was back in his element in Abu Dhabi, smashing an unbeaten 107 off 60 balls as Rajasthan romped to an eight-wicket victory to stay alive in the playoff race. “It was sort of bittersweet, to be honest,” Stokes, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player in 2017, said after collecting his Man of the Match award.

“I am a bit taken aback by why it has taken me so long to get into the tournament for the team. I would have preferred to get this form two-three games ago when we weren’t relying on other results to get us through to the qualifiers. But it’s always nice to get back into form. But yeah, we are relying on a few other results at the moment. So a bit of bittersweet.”

After reaching his 100, Stokes raised his bat as a tribute to his ailing father. “Things are a bit difficult right now, but hope this has given a bit of happiness back home,” said the 29-year-old.

Pandya’s BLM support

Earlier in the match, Mumbai Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who smashed seven sixes in his unbeaten 60 off 21 balls, took a knee in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Mumbai’s stand-in captain Kieron Pollard was seen in the team dugout raising his fist in response. Pandya later tweeted a

picture of his gesture with the caption “BlackLivesMatter”. — Reuters

KXIP in top-4 after 5th win in a row

Sharjah: Chris Gayle channelised his inner anger while Mandeep Singh played through immense personal grief as they scripted another chapter in Kings XI Punjab’s comeback story with an eight-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL today. KXIP chased down the 150-run target in 18.5 overs to win their fifth successive match and keep their playoffs hopes alive. Gayle, who was overlooked and was also ill during the first phase, blasted 51 off 29 balls with five sixes. Mandeep, who is grieving the loss of his father, anchored the chase with an unbeaten 66 off 56 balls as the duo added 100 runs in 10.1 overs. The win took KXIP into the top-four.

Earlier, opting to field, Kings XI dished out a disciplined bowling show, especially at the back-end, to restrict KKR to 149/9. Mohammed Shami (3/35) was the pick of the bowlers, while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/20) and pacer Chris Jordan (2/25) claimed two wickets apiece. After KKR lost three quick wickets, opener Shubman Gill (57 off 45 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40) shared an 81-run stand off 47 balls. However, Morgan’s dismissal led to a batting collapse and KKR managed only 57 runs in the second half of their innings.

Brief scores: KKR: 149/9 (Gill 57; Shami 3/35); KXIP: 150/2 in 18.5 overs (Mandeep 66*, Gayle 51*). pti

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