New Delhi: Ben Stokes showed why he is the highest paid cricketer of IPL 2017 by single handedly taking Rinsing Pune Supergiant to a 5 wicket win over Gujarat Lions in Pune.
Stokes played one of the best T20 knocks ever and slammed 6 sixes and 7 fours in his unbeaten 103 run innings off 63 balls.
Pune needed 60 off the last 5 overs with Dhoni and Stokes at the crease. Stokes showcased a master class as he punished all the Gujarat bowlers to each and every part of the ground.
Chasing a target of 162, Pune lost their top three for just 10 on the board. Playing his first match of the season, Pradeep Sangwan picked up 2 wickets in his very first over to rattle the Pune chase.
Soon after Thampi trapped in-form Manoj Tiwar for a duck and then Rahul Tripathi got himself run out in a horrible mid-pitch mix up.
Stokes first put on an important 76 runs stand with Dhoni (26) and then joined hands with Christian to knock off the total. It was Christian (17*) who hit the winning runs.
For Gujarat, Thampi and Sangwan picked up 2 wickets a piece but they were not able to control Stokes, who was demolition mode.
Earlier, Tahir’s brilliance with the ball restricted Gujarat to a manageable 161 runs. Tahir not only broke the opening stand but also got rid of Aaron Finch (13) and Dwyane Smith (0) in successive balls. The South African spinner conceded 27 runs in his four overs.
Lions could not exploit a good batting wicket and if it was not for Dinesh Karthik’s sensible 29-run knock, they would not have put on board a respectable total.
Paceman Jaydev Unadkat (3/29) also took three wickets to wipe off the tail.