Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has stated that Ben Stokes showed his dominating side with his swashbuckling century in the Rajasthan Royals' (RR) IPL 2020 win against the Mumbai Indians (MI) yesterday.
He made this observation while reviewing the Steve Smith-led side's 8-wicket victory against the four-time IPL champions in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Talking about the Mumbai Indians batting effort, Aakash Chopra mentioned that Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav laid a nice platform after the early dismissal of Quinton de Kock.
"Mumbai batted first after winning the toss and scored a lot of runs. It was a used pitch where batting is a little difficult generally. Jofra picks up a wicket in the beginning as usual and then Ishan and Suryakumar have a good partnership."
The renowned commentator observed that the Rajasthan Royals spinners applied the brakes on the Mumbai Indians batsmen, with Shreyas Gopal dismissing Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard in the same over.
"When Suryakumar gets out, MI loses Kieron Pollard also in the same over. It was the 13th over bowled by Shreyas Gopal, very good as they pegged them back. Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal had created a stranglehold on the explosive MI batting lineup."
Aakash Chopra pointed out that Hardik Pandya's blitzkrieg took the Mumbai Indians to a massive score, with Archer being the only Rajasthan Royals bowler to not face the music at the death.
"But after that the Hardik Pandya storm blew everyone away, 60 runs off 21 balls, what quality of hitting man. He hit Ankit Rajpoot and Kartik Tyagi a lot although Jofra still kept him quiet. He took MI past 190, which is a huge total."
Aakash Chopra on the Rajasthan Royals run-chase
Aakash Chopra mentioned that he was hoping that the Rajasthan Royals would open with Jos Buttler instead of Ben Stokes, considering the enormity of the target and the latter's lack of form.
"During the mid-innings I was saying that Rajasthan Royals should open with Jos Buttler because the target was above 190 and Stokes was not in form, not hitting the sixes especially."
He observed that the Rajasthan Royals stuck with the England all-rounder, and seemed to be in trouble after the early dismissals of Robin Uthappa and Steve Smith.
"But they sent Ben Stokes with Robbie, who gets out after hitting a couple of fours. Smith comes in at No.3 and also gets out after hitting one or two boundaries. It felt that the ship was sinking again."
Aakash Chopra pointed out that Ben Stokes demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the best players in the current generation.
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"But in such a situation, Stokes became Big Ben and smashed the MI bowlers and timed the ball to perfection. He showed that once in a generation players turn it on when it matters."
The former KKR player also lauded Sanju Samson for proving to be an able ally and not letting the pressure to mount on the Rajasthan Royals opener.
"Sanju Samson was there with him, who was due to fire for a very long time. He played a special knock because if his contribution had not been that good in this partnership, the pressure would have come on Stokes and he could have played an unnecessary shot and got out."
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that although the Mumbai Indians had a well-rounded bowling attack, they were taken apart by the two Rajasthan Royals batsmen.
"The Mumbai Indians had a quality bowling attack but on the night they dismantled everyone."
Ben Stokes smashed an unbeaten 107 and shared an unbroken 152-run partnership with Sanju Samson to help the Rajasthan Royals register an 8-wicket victory. The emphatic win kept the playoff hopes of the inaugural IPL champions alive.
Published 26 Oct 2020, 11:24 IST