Did Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) miss Ben Stokes in IPL 10 final?
Hyderabad: England all-rounder Ben Stokes had once become the culprit of his country's defeat in the final of World Twenty20 International in 2016, and once again he is being looked as the main reason behind Rising Pune Supergiant's heart wrenching one-run defeat in the IPL 2017 final, but this time the case is a little different.
On April 3, 2016, in the final of World T20I in India, Stokes was at the receiving end when West Indies all-rounder Carlos Braithwaite smashed four back to back sixes to win the coveted trophy for his country.
Now, Stokes' IPL team Rising Pune Supergiant, which bought him for a whopping Rs 14.5 crore at the players' auction, was missing him desperately in the summit clash against Mumbai Indians. If he was not on national duty, he would have been in the playing XI in place of Daniel Christian, who was hit for 12 and 14 runs in the 18th and 20th overs of Mumbai's inning, respectively.
Even if we do not talk about the kind of contribution he is capable of with the ball, as RPS bowlers had done a commendable job to restrict Mumbai Indians to a below par total of 129/8, his potential as a batsman can never be sidelined.
If he was in the team, he might have been promoted above Manoj Tiwary (7 off 8), making a strong possibility of leading RPS through the 130-run target, in hands with skipper Steven Smith, who was looking in great touch but failed on Sunday night because of no support from the other end.
As Cricket is the game of uncertainties, he might also have been got out on the first delivery, but his presence could have created a huge difference. Ben Stokes has been in great form throughout the tournament, consequently winning the Most Valuable Player award.
Ben Stokes batted in 11 innings in which he scored 316 runs with the highest score of 103 not out against Gujarat Lions, taking RPS to 5-wicket win singlehandedly. He also bagged 12 wickets in 12 matches with the best figures of 3/18. He had been brilliant on the field and also took five phenomenal catches while representing RPS in the tenth season of IPL.
There always are some contributions that can never be defined in numbers. He was electrifying on the field and always helped in boosting the morale of the rest of the teammates.
But unfortunately for RPS, he was not available for the Qualifier and Final of the tournament. After the end of league stage of IPL, he was recalled by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa in England starting from May 24.
Well, despite Stokes' absence, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) put up a great show and restricted MI to a small total of 129/8 and then was very well on course of an IPL victory until Steven Smith was present at the crease.
Mumbai Indians also deserve all the credit for not losing the hope and giving their all to the match under the flawless leadership of Rohit Sharma to clinch their third IPL title in ten years.