IPL 10: Mumbai Indians-Rising Pune Supergiant’s game turning point – Ben Stokes had done precious little in Rising Pune Supergiant’s (RPS) six games until Monday to justify the tag of IPL’s costliest player, being sold at a jaw-dropping price of Rs 14.50 crore at the auctions.
IPL 2017, IPL 10, Indian Premier League (IPL), Ben Stokes, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Steve Smith, Harbhajan Singh, Jaydev Una (AFP)
It needed something special to halt Mumbai Indians’ (MI) six-match unbeaten run, and that something special came from Ben Stokes.
The Englishman had done precious little in Rising Pune Supergiant’s (RPS) six games until Monday to justify the tag of IPL’s costliest player, being sold at a jaw-dropping price of Rs 14.50 crore at the auctions.
But in the arguably biggest match for RPS this season and in front of the biggest crowd, Stokes came to the party, and in the process, won his team a match that was looking all but lost.
Chasing 161, skipper Rohit Sharma was anchoring MI’s chase to perfection, not once losing his composure and sight of the required run rate. Despite losing wickets at the other end, Rohit was motoring along, bringing up his half-century and the equation down to 24 off 12 balls.
With a set Rohit Sharma and a dangerous Hardik Pandya at the crease, that was well within MI’s grasp.
RPS captain Steve Smith went for the jugular, giving the penultimate over to the England all-rounder in the hope that his most experienced bowler can do enough damage in those six balls to leave some room for error for his lesser-experienced bowler in the final over.
And Stokes did just that. After a poor first ball on the pads of Rohit that he got away with and a wide to follow, Stokes got his act together, one that dismantled MI. The next couple of balls were full, wide balls that the batsmen were simply unable to hit.
He changed his pace in the fourth ball, sending down a slower delivery to Pandya that surprised the batsman. The one after that was a fast bowler’s dream: an in-swinging yorker bang on leg stump that Rohit could only manage to dig out. The final ball was again full and wide, a type of ball that batsman dread when it comes to the slog overs.
The result of that cunning over? Six singles and a wide. A total of seven runs.
It turned the equation around from 24 off 12 to 17 off 6, and just like Smith would’ve planned, it was a bit too much for MI. Thus, despite being smashed for a couple of sixes, young Jaydev Unadkat could defend those many runs with the help of a couple of wickets of Pandya and Rohit.
But those couple of wickets would’ve meant absolutely nothing if not for that precious penultimate over from Stokes.
“That over turned the game around,” MI off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said after his team’s three-wicket defeat. “Stokes did not give away a single boundary in that over. Even if we had managed to hit one boundary, the equation for the final over would’ve been 11 or 12 and then that would’ve been different. So yes, that 19th over by Stokes was really crucial for them.”