Pune: After consolidating their fourth spot in the table, Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith feels they are "peaking at the right time", while adding that 'Man of the Match' Ben Stokes had earned every cent in the record $14.5 million that he was sold for in the player auction.
RPS beat Gujarat Lions by five wickets after a top-order collapse, with Stokes lighting the evening up by smashing his maiden IPL ton, and now stand pretty at fourth spot with 12 points.
"It wasn't an ideal start but we have some artillery in the shed. MS (Dhoni) and Stokesy (Stokes) took it deep. It is one of the easier ground to his sixes and Stokesy made use of it. I thought it was a great effort for the bowlers to pull it back to 160. We are peaking at the right time, hopefully not early," Smith said after the match.
"Stokesy is a quality player and he certainly earned his cash. Fantastic player and very proud of him."
Stokes, who added 76 runs for the fifth wicket with former India captian MS Dhoni to repair the innings, said their plan was to rotate the strike.
"We lost quite a few early wickets... Me and MS just tried to keep it ticking. Numbers game: we just tried to go big at the start of the over and cool it off," he said.
Lions skipper Suresh Raina not having 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 Stokes was 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.
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Sekar lamented that the incident is going to be associated with Australian cricket forever and there is nothing one can do about it.
The ball-tampering scandal was put under the spotlight again when Bancroft last week revealed that Australian bowlers in the team at that time might have had some knowledge about the plot.
The former wicketkeeper-batsman said CA, in the course of the whole episode, missed out on an opportunity to make a strong statement