Ben Stokes, Rising Pune Supergiant’s driving force for IPL 2017 playoffs
Ben Stokes has performed admirably for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 and has been the primary driving force in their march towards a playoff spot.ipl 2017 Updated: May 11, 2017 18:47 IST
Ben Stokes had set the IPL 2017 auction on fire when he was snapped up for a record Rs 14.5 crore by Rising Pune Supergiant. With this astronomical sum came high expectations to deliver something special.
Rising Pune Supergiant are just one win away from the playoffs, a far cry from their debut edition in IPL 2016 when they narrowly escaped finishing last in the points table. The prime factor behind their resurgence is Stokes. His performances have silenced people who have been critical of his high price.
As they take on Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday, Rising Pune Supergiant will be aiming to seal a spot in the playoffs and maintain the winning momentum initiated by the England all-rounder’s brilliance.
Far from ideal start
Rising Pune Supergiant started the IPL 2017 campaign in style when they defeated Mumbai Indians. However, they lost their next three games. After losing to Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils thrashed them by 97 runs. After losing against Gujarat Lions, it seemed the ghosts of IPL 2016 were back to haunt them.
To make matters worse, Stokes had not performed with the bat or ball in the first four games. He took one wicket and scored 98 runs with one fifty. It seemed Stokes’ high price tag wasn’t getting the returns for Rising Pune Supergiant.
Stokes leads Rising Pune Supergiant’s revival
However, Stokes led Rising Pune Supergiant’s recovery against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The England all-rounder removed Virat Kohli to break RCB’s momentum and proceeded to dismiss Shane Watson and Adam Milne, giving RPS a 27-run win.
Stokes followed up his haul of 3/18 against RCB with another great performance against Mumbai Indians. He picked two wickets in his first two overs but conceded just seven runs in the 19th over to help RPS to clinch a vital three-run win. His back-to-back Man-of-the-Match awards had given Rising Pune Supergiant the belief.
Silencing critics the Stokes way
After missing two games due to a shoulder injury, Stokes returned in a crucial match against Gujarat Lions and stole the show after his team were reduced to 42/4 in pursuit of 162. In an exhibition of power-hitting, Stokes blasted an unbeaten 103 off 85 balls to help RPS break the victory drought against Gujarat Lions.
Stokes’ contribution has helped Rising Pune Supergiant win four consecutive matches and it gives the team great momentum ahead of the playoffs. For impact, the England all-rounder has not only silenced critics, but has become the driving force in Rising Pune Supergiant dreaming of an IPL title.
First Published: May 11, 2017 18:42 IST