After smacking his second IPL century to power Rajasthan Royals to an eight-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians, Ben Stokes termed the knock 'bittersweet' as his team's qualification hopes are difficult.
Stokes said he wished he could have done this two-three games earlier, but was nevertheless happy to give his family some happiness in tough times. Stokes joined the team late in the tournament as he was with his family in New Zealand, where his father is battling brain cancer.
"Sort of bittersweet to be honest - it has taken me so long to get one for the team. I would have preferred to get this form two or three games before when we weren't relying on other results to get us through to the qualifiers," Stokes said on receiving the Man of the Match award.
"It's always nice to get back to form. We needed a result from today, so - it's a good victory. Training yesterday was the best I have had for the full time I have been here. Came into the game with a lot more confidence than the other games.
"Nice to spend some time out in the middle and finish the game off. The ball was coming on nicely - be it short or full. It was hard when they dug it into the wicket. We got ourselves into a great position by putting the pressure back on to every bowler who came on. They have obviously got Bumrah, which we managed to score probably a lot freer than we thought we'd be able to.
"It's a bit difficult at the moment, things are a bit tough back at home, hopefully, this will give them some happiness."
Stokes was well supported by Sanju Samson in an unbroken 152-run stand, with Samson contributing 54*. Samson has been inconsistent through the season, and said he never lost his belief despite seeing lows.
"I kept on believing in myself. When you play 14 games, you'll have to go through ups and downs. I worked a bit on my game plan. In bigger grounds, on different wickets, you need to take more time, play more cricketing shots, that was the difference I did today. It was amazing batting with Stokes. We have spent a good time out in the middle in the last three games, this was the best time with him, really enjoyed it," he said.
Samson explained that he wasn't trying hard to hit big sixes.
"To be honest, I was not looking at how many runs do we want or what the run-rate was. I was just reacting to the ball, my game plan is very simple, I just watch the ball and hit it if it is there. If not, I take singles and doubles. I just kept it simple and finished it off, have seen some funny games in the past in IPL where matches have gone here and there.
"Wanted to be there till the end and luckily we did that today for the team. I did give myself some time but at the same time I was looking for boundaries, I was trying few hits against (Rahul) Chahar but couldn't. The intent was there, I took 5-6 balls to get in and then started showing intent. To be honest, no method to hit sixes, just watch the ball and hit it."
Samson explained that his celebration (showing his biceps) was a reminder to himself about his strength.
"Reminding myself what my name is, I think Samson is the strongest man in the world, I keep remembering that. I am very strong and I can hit more sixes."