After being bought for over a million in the IPL auction a few months back, Ben Stokes proved his star quality and silenced his price tags critics after hitting a sensational, match-winning ton for Rising Pune on the 2nd May 2017. Stokes has had his critics since arriving in Pune for that huge price tag, but this performance has surely turned the heads of many RPS fans, as he put on an emphatic display and helped fire his team into the play off positions.
Despite missing the last 2 games, Stokes returned in stunning fashion and had to dig deep to keep pulling off the awesome swings during the match against Gujarat Lions. He believes that sitting out the last two fixtures have done him good and that the rest was well needed to clear his head. He had this to say; ‘I think it did me some good having a little rest, I felt my training was slipping away a little bit, and it was good to get into the nets, and I took that into my innings well.’
Stokes had been under immense pressure in the last couple of weeks, having being mocked on social media and being under fire from many cricket experts, the 2 weeks rest definitely paid off as he smashed an 103 from 68 balls and it was then that the Lions knew he would take some stopping. Prior to the fixture against Gujarat Lions, the Englishman was given permission by the England and Wales Cricket board to miss England’s series match against Ireland so he could gain more experience in the IPL and for the Rising Pune Supergiants.
RPS had been on a great run prior to this game against the Gujarat Lions, having won four of their last five games and with Stokes back and firing on all cylinders, RPS captain Steve Smith had this to say; ‘It was important to win this game and it’s even more important to keep this run of form going because after this we have a couple of away games.’
The purchase of Stokes was massively risky for the IPL and for Rising Pune Supergiants because they were focused of building their success around this one player, hence the hefty price. Fans feared for the worst after this revelation due to the amount of injuries RPS had in the previous season. Not only this, but there was an expectance of an upset within the team concerning wage bills and certain responsibilities.
Furthermore, it has been a hot and cold season for Stokes thus far in the IPL and this performance will surely see a change in fortune for Stokes’ season and has obviously given RPS a huge boost as they are now in the top four playoff places. With crucial games coming thick and fast in the IPL, RPS are among a very entertaining race for the IPL 2017 crown and they need many, many more performances like the one against the Gujarat Lion’s to help the sides cause.