IPL 2020: Steve Smith in awe of Ben Stokes following RR's crucial win over KXIP
Rajasthan Royals scripted their sixth win of the season in 13 matches, as they have risen to the fifth spot, staying in contention for playoffs. As for Kings XI Punjab, they suffered their seventh loss in the same number of games as RR, while they too are in the playoffs competition.
Former champions Rajasthan Royals' (RR) never give up attitude reigned supreme, as they overpowered Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Match 50 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on Friday. With this win, RR stay in the contention for playoffs, while KXIP, too, still have their chances.
Match summary: Winning the toss, RR skipper Steve Smith elected to bowl first. KXIP were off to a fabulous start, as KL Rahul (46) and Chris Gayle (99) put a 120-run stand for the second wicket, while they posted a challenging total of 185/4. In reply, the RR openers were off to a flier, as they kept up with the required rate. Robin Uthappa (30), Ben Stokes (50), Sanju Samson (48) and Smith (31) played their part, as they comfortably won it by seven wickets.
Following the win, Smith hailed the side for their classy batting performance, besides praising Stokes and Samson for their excellent batting. Smith was optimistic about their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, following this win.
"Ben is a class player, plays proper shots. He hits the balls in weird areas and did a job with the ball too. [He is] one of the best in the world. Sanju started the tournament really well, then in the middle, couldn't get going, but that is T20 cricket. You have got to keep trusting the process," said Smith after the win.
"The season has ebbed and flowed, yes. [It] Would have been nice to have a couple of wins in the middle. We still need to do a bit to make the playoffs, and we need things to go our way. Having said that, if that happens, we are playing very good cricket," added Smith.
Meanwhile, KXIP skipper Rahul was heartbroken following the loss, as he asserted that losing the toss hurt them, besides blaming the dew, that made it difficult for them to defend the total. "It was a horrible toss to lose with the amount of dew later on. It did get very, very easy to bat on. The wrist-spinners want the ball to be dry and get some grip off the surface, but with the dew, it got really difficult," he said.
"On a sticky wicket, as it was when we batted, this was not a bad total. We didn't bowl badly, but we need to learn to bowl better with the wet ball. The dew has been unpredictable. We spoke to the groundsman, and he said there was no dew last game," concluded Rahul.
KXIP play their final game of the season against former champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who have already been knocked out of the contention. Meanwhile, RR take on fellow former champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their final league game, as both are in dire need of a win, for the playoffs battle. Both matches would be played on Sunday.