Rajasthan Royals kept their play-off hopes alive after Ben Stokes hit his 2nd IPL hundred in their successful chase of 196 against table-toppers and defending champions Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Stokes hit 107 not out from just 60 balls, hitting 3 sixes and 16 boundaries while getting great company from Sanju Samson who hit a 31-ball 54 not out as they dismantled the mighty Mumbai bowling unit with ease.

Rajasthan Royals' 8-wicket win also means Chennai Super Kings are officially out of the play-offs race despite their dominant win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the earlier fixture on Sunday.

Rajasthan Royals climb to the 6th spot with 10 points from 12 matches while Mumbai Indians still retain the top spot. The race for the play-offs gets spicier as Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad along with RR will be battling for the 4th spot.

Chasing 195, Rajasthan Royals were in a spot of bother as they lost opener Robin Uthappa and captain Steve Smith in the powerplay. However, Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson demolished Mumbai Indians' bowling attack, leaving stand-in captain Kieron Pollard clueless.

There was a lot of criticism over Ben Stokes opening the batting for the Royals as the England star had been ordinary at the top, managing just 110 runs until Sunday. However, Big Ben, who has made it a habit to produce special knocks in the toughest of the situations, did it again with a masterclass of big-hitting.

Ben Stokes dealt some of the biggest names, including Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, with contempt as he hit boundaries at will and never allowed the asking rate to creep up. It was a night to remember for Stokes who had been struggling to live up to his price tag in the IPL. Notably, Stokes joined RR's campaign late as he had headed to home from England to be with his ailing father.

At the other end, Sanju Samson played with a calm head, something that was missing in his game so far in the IPL. Samson and Stokes complemented each other wonderfully well as they added 152 for the 3rd wicket.

Earlier in the day, Hardik Pandya came up with a big-hitting show of the highest quality to help Mumbai Indians post 195 for 5 in 20 overs. Hardik hit 7 sixes, all of them monstrous ones, as he smashed 60 not out from just 21 balls. Mumbai Indians collected 74 runs in their last 4 overs.

Mumbai lost opener Quinton de Kock early, thanks to another fiery opening spell from Jofra Archer. However, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav took the attack to the other bowlers and took Mumbai Indians to 59 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.

However, Shreyas Gopal jolted Mumbai Indians picking up the wickets of Suryakumar and stand-in captain Kieron Pollard in the same over. RR struck quickly in the middle overs after a stunning catch from Jofra Archer broke a steady 2nd-wicket stand with the wicket of Ishan Kishan.

Mumbai Indians were looking like they would finish with a score of 170 or less when they were 121 for 4 at the end of 16 overs. However, Pandya produced a masterclass of big-hitting to provide the late impetus.

Nonetheless, Pandya's effort went in vain after the blitzkrieg from Stokes and Samson, who effortlessly pulled off a difficult chase and dented MI's charge in the tournament.
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