Rising Pune Supergiants skipper Steven Smith has applauded his team's rise to the fourth spot in the IPL points table, courtesy all-rounder Ben Stokes' unbeaten century. RPS displayed majestic form as they beat Gujarat Lions by five wickets despite a top-order collapse.
They now have 12 points from 10 games after winning 6 and losing 4 matches. Smith was full of praise for his premier all-rounder who batted through cramps and saw the team to victory.
"It wasn't an ideal start but we have some artillery inthe shed. MS and Stoksy took it deep. It is one of the easierground to his sixes and Stokesy made use of it. I thought itwas a great effort for the bowlers to pull it back to 160. Weare peaking at the right time, hopefully not early," Smith said after the match.
"Stoksy is a quality player and he certainly earned hiscash. Fantastic player and very proud of him." Stokes added 76 pivotal runs for the fifth wicket with former India captain and RPS wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni to repair the innings, and claimed that both the batsmen planned to rotate the strike.
"We lost quite a few early wickets... me and MS justtried to keep it ticking. Numbers game: we just tried to gobig at the start of the over and cool it off," he said.
Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina rued that not having a quality spin attack hurt them in the match. "The dew was there when Basil and Jimmy were bowling. Credit to Stokes. We did not have much power in the spinning department, but Stokes did well. I would say we were 25-30 runs short. We kept losing wickets and we were all out. Still I think we bowled well in the first six overs. The way Stokeswas hitting was the turning point. The way he was hitting,clean strikes," he said.
"Still we have four games left. Hopefully things will turn out better for us," Raina signed off.
With PTI inputs