Ben Stokes returned to form in style as he slammed a match-winning hundred against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020 on Sunday. He remained unbeaten on 106 off 60 deliveries to guide Rajasthan Royals to an 8-wicket win, thus keeping the side's chances for a playoff qualification alive.
Stokes, however, insisted that it was "bittersweet" to have scored a century, insisting that he would've preferred to score such an innings "two or three" games before.
"Sort of bittersweet to be honest - it took so long to get one for the team. I would have preferred to get this form two or three games before when we weren't relying on other results to get us through to the qualifiers," said Stokes in the post-match presentation ceremony, in which he was declared player of the match.
"The harder shot to play was when they dug into the wicket. And we scored off Bumrah probably a lot freer than we thought we’d be able to.
Stokes also hopes that his innings brought a bit of cheer to his family. "Things are a bit difficult right now, but hope this has given a bit of happiness back home."
Ben Stokes' father was diagnosed with brain cancer and is currently undergoing treatment for the same. The all-rounder had left the Test series against Pakistan in July midway to spend time with his family in New Zealand, and only arrived at the RR camp earlier this month.
"It's always nice to get back to form. We needed a result from today, so - it's a good victory."
Stokes comes into the match after making scores of 30, 19, 15, 41, and 5 thus far in the IPL. He said that he had his best training session on Saturday since coming to the UAE and took that confidence into the match. His innings on Sunday helped RR chase down a target of 196 with eight wickets and more than two overs to spare and was part of an unbeaten 152-run stand for the third wicket with Sanju Samson.
"Training yesterday was the best I have had for the full time I have been here. Came into the game with a lot more confidence than the other games. Nice to spend some time out in the middle and finish the game off," he said.
(With inputs from IANS)