Brilliant partnership between Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag guided the Royals from 78 for five to a five-wicket victory with a ball to spare.

Ben Stokes made his return to cricket with his first match since August for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

The England all-rounder cut short his international season after the first Test against Pakistan ended on August 8 to travel to New Zealand to be with his father Ged, who has brain cancer.

After completing his quarantine following arrival in the UAE, Stokes made his first outing of the IPL season for Rajasthan against Sunrisers Hyderabad, bowling one over and opening the batting alongside England team-mate Jos Buttler.

Ben Stokes returned to action in the IPL (
Ben Stokes returned to action in the IPL (Gareth Copley/PA)

It was his first T20 match in 238 days and, remarkably, was only the 29-year-old’s fourth white-ball match since his winning role in the World Cup final last year.

But it did not go quite as well as the all-rounder would have hoped. After his solitary over went for a respectable seven runs, Stokes lasted just six balls with the bat before he was bowled for five by Khaleel Ahmed.

Buttler fared little better. Having been involved in the run out of Steve Smith, he also fell victim to Khaleel to one that nipped back and trapped him lbw for 16 as Rajasthan stuttered in their pursuit of 159.

Earlier Jonny Bairstow, who lost his Test central contract for the coming year last month, also made just 16 before Australia’s David Warner and India’s Manish Pandey guided Sunrisers to 158 for four from their 20 overs.

At least one England star had a good day, as Rajasthan’s Jofra Archer returned impressive figures of one for 25 from his four overs – including dismissing Warner as he did four times during Australia’s white-ball tour of England in September.

David Warner | SRH skipper: Unfortunately, we couldn’t cross the line there, but that’s what happens in cricket. We got two guys that are set and taking it deep, it’s always hard to control. It’s good to see good battle out there, credit to the way he (Tewatia) played. He came out and played his shots and played very brave and got his team across the line. We have done it in the past where we have held him (Rashid Khan) back and obviously these two guys (Parag and Tewatia) played exceptionally well and obviously there was a  dropped chance out there which we try to take every day of the week but that’s what happens in the game of cricket. I think that (pitches slowing down) sort of suits our bowling attack, tonight some of our decisions at the top of the mark just weren’t there and we probably bowled the wrong ball at times. There is a lot of positives from this game for us and we will take that on into the next game. As these wickets get tired out we need to plan how to approach the first six overs and through the middle and then obviously assess with our bowling. We got some power in the middle-order and we thought Vijay with the big boundaries here would offer us something with the ball and obviously he’s an established cricket player as well.

Riyan Parag: When Rahul bhaiyya came into bat, the main motto was to take it deep. Last four overs, even Rashid had one. We planned for Rahul bhaiyya to take on Rashid and it worked out in the end. When I went into bat, after a few balls, I had a clear mind that I wanted to go after the 16th over. Rashid was bowling well, the spinners were bowling well, the wicket was slow as well. We just had to target the fast bowlers and the plan worked out perfectly. That’s my routine, I like to run out to bat as it pumps me up. I’m a big dreamer. I dream situations like these. Facing this feels a lot more real to me. Love these situations. Whenever the team needs me, I put my hand up and raise to the occasion. That’s the Bihu dance, the traditional dance of Assam. Some of the Assamese boys were up there as well, had a bit of fun after the game.



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