MUMBAI: Now we know why Rising Pune Supergiant shelled out 14.5 crores to acquire the services of Ben Stokes. He can bowl at the start, bowl in the end, pluck mind-boggling catches and tonk sixes.
While the latter didn't quite happen on Monday against Mumbai Indians in match 28 of the IPL at the Wankhede, his spell of 4-1-21-2 and the catch he pulled off at deep cover in the final over to get rid of Hardik Pandya for 13 played a huge role in RPS defending 160 for 6 and beating MI by three runs and winning their third match on the trot. The result ended MI's six-match winning run.
Stokes' brilliance subdued a solo effort from MI captain Rohit Sharma who scored 58 (39 balls, 6x4, 3x6) and looked like he would take MI home despite them needing 17 off the last five balls from Jaydev Unadkat.
He hit the second ball for six and MI needed 11 off four balls. S Ravi then added to the list of umpiring howlers by failing to spot a wide and that incensed Rohit no end who protested vigorously. It also made the equation tougher with 11 needed off three and affected Rohit's concentration too as he skied the next ball to be caught and bowled. It effectively ended the contest.
MI needed 17 off the last over because of a superb penultimate over bowled by Stokes where he mixed his length and pace to concede just seven when MI needed 24 off 12 with good strikers like Pandya and Rohit at the crease.