Rajasthan Royals remain in the hunt for playoffs after a stunning victory against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
It was a big weekend for teams in the bottom half of the league table in IPL 2020. Most of the teams were fighting for survival in the race for the top four. Rajasthan Royals managed to keep the slim hopes of making it to playoffs by beating Mumbai Indians by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi on October 25.
After winning the toss, MI posted a mammoth score of 195 in 20 overs. Considering the bowling unit of MI, chasing down such a big total looked a far-fetched idea for RR. However, they defied the odds and cruised to victory after outstanding performances from top-order batsmen. Here are important takeaways from RR’s fifth victory of the season.
Ben Stokes finally gets going in IPL 2020
Ben Stokes manages to come up with a big performance when his team desperately needed him to deliver. Stokes has been finding it difficult to score quick runs since joining the RR squad midway through the tournament. On Sunday, his intent was clear from the first ball as he hammered Trent Boult for four boundaries in the third over.
The Englishman got better as the innings progressed. Stokes never allowed the run rate to go beyond 12 at any stage of the chase. By hammering 107 runs in 60 balls, Stokes comfortably took his team home in a game where the chase was looking difficult.
He expressed his disappointment about not getting back to form earlier in the tournament, but he can make up for it by doing well this week. Stokes’ return to form will be a big boost to RR’s hopes of winning the remaining two games.
Hardik Pandya continues to deliver as a finisher
MI doesn’t have a single batsman in the top five list for Orange Cap, but every batsman in their team has stepped up at a certain stage in the tournament. It was Hardik Pandya’s turn on Sunday. He has been effective in the lower order for MI this season, but a big innings was missing.
After a good platform laid by Ishan Kishan and Surya Kumar Yadav, Pandya exploded in death overs to score 60 runs in 21 balls. He played second fiddle when Saurabh Tiwary was doing the hitting.
In the 18th over, Pandya took matters in his hand and hammered four sixes. The 27-year-old Indian all-rounder also managed to hit three sixes and two fours in the last over, proving once again that he is one of the best T-20 finishers in the world.
Sanju Samson needs to maintain consistency in the next two games
Ben Stokes has taken all the headlines with a sublime century, but Sanju Samson had an equally important role to play in the chase. Samson had a difficult IPL campaign after a brilliant start as he struggled to get big scores after the initial two games.
On Sunday, he decided to play himself in by playing risk-free cricket in the initial part of the innings. Once he was set, he decided to unleash some magnificent shots to ease pressure on Stokes.
Samson ended up with 51 runs in 27 balls. The young Indian batsman needs to maintain consistency in his batting to fulfill his potential. Although it has been a stop-start campaign for Samson, he can finish it well by achieving consistency in his batting.
By Kiran Thakare