Ben Stokes, as a cricketer, may be the best of the players in the current era but he is not loved as a person in India. He is probably not the player who brings a smile on the face when someone see him due to his arrogant behaviour, which seems to be from this side of the television but with this performance on Monday, respect for Stokes did not just raised but also touched a mark where other cricketers might not be able to reach.
The property of Rising Pune Supergiant worth Rs. 14.5 core finally produced profits for them, as Stokes, with subtle aid from Dhoni led the team to a spectacular win over Gujarat Lions.
In a chase to the steep total of 162, the RPS side stooped to a new low, as none of the top four batsmen could even touch the double figure mark, All was left on MS Dhoni, the former skipper who, as usual, took his time to settle. Meanwhile, Stokes realised the urgency and started playing his shots to keep the chasing rate in control.
In last six overs, the home side needed 72 runs with asking rate clinging to 12 runs per over, that was the time when Stokes pulled the game towards the team, as he completed the asked quota of runs in each over to keep the chase alive.
Though they suffered a jitter when MS Dhoni was dismissed but it proved to a blessing for the team, as Daniel Christian, his successor at the crease also contributed in the win with an innings of 17 of just eight deliveries.
However, it was a heroic century from Stokes, riding on which Pune was able to continue their winning form.
It was a big target to chase and for Gujarat, the foundation stone for this total was laid by young Ishan Kishan and experience Brendon McCullum, who provided an apt start, as the pair of young and experienced batsmen shared 55 runs for the first wicket, with Ishan Kishan doing the main damage, as the for under skipper slammed 31 off 24 balls.
It was the only partnership that Gujarat Lions could rejoice in their whole innings, as following this, they had small partnerships but not significant enough. Still, they could manage 162 on the board.
It was the wicket that ditched Gujarat, as the game progressed which also had an impact on the batting side. As a result, they could just manage to score 67 runs in last overs of their innings.
Pune side too crumbled due to slow pitch but finished the job well at the end of the day.
Brief Scores: Rising Pune Supergiant (Ben Stokes 103* MS Dhoni 26; Basil Thampi 2-35) defeat Gujarat Lions (Brendon McCullum 45, Ishan Kishan 31; Imran Tahir 3-27) by five wickets in Pune.