England's Ben Stokes plays a shot during play on the final day of the second Test cricket match between England and the West Indies. File/AFP
England allrounder Ben Stokes has dedicated his biggest Indian Premier League innings to his father, who is battling cancer in New Zealand.
Stokes smashed an unbeaten 107 off just 60 balls to help Rajasthan Royals beat holders Mumbai Indians by eight wickets on Sunday, keeping the inaugural IPL champions in the hunt for one of the four playoff places.
Khabib Nurmagomedov's emotional retirement makes waves on the internet
Stokes, Samson keep Rajasthan's hopes alive with facile win over leaders Mumbai
Gaikwad and Sam shine as Chennai beat Bangalore, end three-match losing streak
Stokes raised his bat and hand with a folded finger after the hundred as a gesture to his ailing father whose middle finger was amputated because of injuries while playing and coaching rugby league.
"Things are a bit difficult right now, but hope this has given a bit of happiness back home," said an emotional Stokes after recording his highest IPL score with 14 fours and three sixes.
Stokes joined the Royals late in the United Arab Emirates after spending time with Ged Stokes, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, in New Zealand.
New Zealand-born Stokes, who had pulled out of the England-Pakistan Test series in August, had scored just 110 runs in his five previous matches this season. His previous IPL best was 103 in 2017.
Stokes put on a brilliant 152 third-wicket stand with Sanju Samson as Royals passed the 196 target with 10 balls to spare.
The win in Abu Dhabi leaves the Steve Smith-led Royals sixth in the IPL table with 10 points from 12 games.
Stokes's performance was widely hailed. "Big Player, Big Impact! Brilliant by Ben Stokes to make this chase look very comfortable," India's batting great Sachin tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
Veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle called Stokes's effort "an innings to remember" and former England skipper Michael Vaughan called the innings a "class act".
England teammate Jofra Archer, who returned figures of 2-31, also made a mark on the match with a stunning, leaping one-handed catch on the third-man boundary to dismiss Mumbai batsman Ishan Kishan off paceman Kartik Tyagi.
Australia and India will be aiming to finish top of the World Cup league phase and so avoid facing hosts England in the semi-finals as they prepare for the final day of round-robin matches.
The Old Trafford tie would have seen India make it to the finals had the batters seen off the new ball without giving away crucial wickets. But credit to Jadeja for his fine knock (‘Kiwis survive Jadeja scare to stun India in World Cup semi-final thriller,’ July 11, Gulf Today).
“Jasprit Bumrah made a request to BCCI to be released from India’s squad ahead of the fourth Test owing to personal reasons,” the board said in a statement. “Accordingly, the fast bowler has been released and he will not be available for selection for the fourth Test.”
After a demoralising eight-wicket loss against England in the first T20 International that saw their famed batting flounder badly, India will take on England in the second T20 International at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Sunday.
Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association, and Arsham Morad cruised into the semi-finals of the padel competition at the 10th NAS Sports Tournament on Monday.
Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Padel Association, and Arsham Moradi reached the quarter-finals of the padel competition at the 10 NAS Sports Tournament on Sunday.
England's Nat Sciver-Brunt hit an unbeaten half-century to steer Mumbai Indians to a tense seven-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals in the final of the inaugural Women's Premier League on Sunday.
Roberto Rodriguez and Martin Nochese defeated Jonathan Green and Colin Marshall, while Javier Garcia Lopez and Sergio Icardo Alcorisa got the walkover to reach quarter-finals of the 100-point classification category of the Padel Championship at the 10th edition of the NAS Sports Tournament.