T20: Will all-rounder Ben Stokes strike for Rajasthan?
Rajasthan bank on all-rounder Ben to get them over the line against hosts Bangalore today
Rajasthan all-rounder Ben Stokes during a practice session at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur recently. Pic/PTI
Watch out Bangalore, Ben Stokes is in town. And watching out applies to the fans in the Chinnaswamy Stadium stands on match day as also the patrons who are planning to throng the many pubs around the stadium after the game. Stokes can hit you anywhere, you see.
Jokes aside it is Stokes that the Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan are banking on in their quest to take on the Bangalore here this afternoon. The big all-rounder had a terrific debut season last year and it is natural that a lot is expected of him. If Stokes is all about strokes, D'Arcy Short, reputed to be one the harder hitters of the cricket ball, seems to be literally living up to his name instead, falling 'short' of his crease in both games played by Rajasthan thus far.
None of this will matter to the home team, who have their own problems, especially with their famed batting. Chasing down 155 against any team should have been a breeze, but it was anything but on Friday.
Fortunately, the bowling came off better than in their opener against Kolkata. Umesh Yadav, one of India's quickest bowlers, has this knack of picking up wickets and with Washington Sundar joining the consistent Yuzvendra Chahal in the spin ranks, things bode well on that front for Bangalore.
Surprisingly enough the fresh pitch for Friday's match offered a fair amount of turn but still allowed free-stroking batsman to succeed. "It was good (the pitch) and was a 165-170 runs wicket. I think we bowled very well to reduce them by 10-15 runs. Bowlers were also able to get some purchase and it was good for batting as well," said young Sundar. The same surface is to be used for today's game but as they say making the pitch right isn't as important as pitching it right, be it a bowler or batsman.