IPL social: Ben Stokes stars & Kings XI Punjab continue comeback

By Kal SajadBBC Sport
Ben Stokes

'Ben Stokes is the best cricketer on the planet'

As we look back at the IPL highlights of the past week, there's only one place to start.

Rajasthan Royals' overseas star Ben Stokes was struggling for form in this year's tournament. But that all changed on Sunday.

The England all-rounder, in his new role at the top of the order, smashed 107 not out off 60 balls as the Royals beat Mumbai Indians by eight wickets.

His innings impressed one of the finest batsmen to ever play the game…

...while other former and current players were also full of praise…

And even a member of the opposing team applauded Stokes' efforts…

Stokes shared a brilliant unbroken 152-run partnership with India star Sanju Samson.

Here's the two of them reflecting on the win...

Australia batsman Steve Smith has witnessed some super Stokes innings at international level, but the Royals captain was pleased to be on the same side this time…

All high fives and smiles for the Royals, but it was starkly different mood in the Mumbai Indians dressing room…

Field like Bairstow, plus Warner's birthday

Many club cricketers will be gearing up for some indoor winter nets. While you're able to work on fine-tuning your line and length or executing the perfect lofted drive, you may neglect to sharpen your fielding skills.

But fear not - England and Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Jonny Bairstow is on hand to help you…

Some solid tips from a World Cup winner - it doesn't get better than that.

Meanwhile, Bairstow's team-mate and Sunrisers captain David Warner celebrated his 34th birthday on Tuesday.

From the 'non-stop prankster' to the 'true leader', there are many different sides to the Australian...

Just what we like to see: questionable dance moves and the obligatory Indian tradition of smearing cake on the birthday boy's face.

Punjab the comeback Kings XI

On 10 October, Kings XI Punjab lost - from a winning position - to Kolkata Knight Riders by two runs.

With six defeats in seven games, they were pretty much down and out.

Enter the Universe Boss.

In a remarkable comeback - which coincided with Chris Gayle's return to the starting XI - Kings XI won five consecutive games and qualification for the play offs is now in their own hands.

In Tuesday's victory over KKR, Gayle scored his second half-century of the tournament. His performances have impressed this former international captain…

But the star of the show was Mandeep Singh, who scored an unbeaten 66, just three days after the death of his dad.

Kings XI skipper KL Rahul was full of praise for his fellow opener…

In an emotional post-match chat with Gayle, Mandeep credited his dad for the calm and composed innings…

CSK streak is over

Chennai Super Kings are one of the most successful teams in franchise cricket. Since the IPL first launched in 2008, they have won the tournament three times and reached the play-offs every year.

But many good things often come to an end and the CSK streak is over.

Sunday started off well as they convincingly beat Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers by eight wickets.

But the Royals' victory over Mumbai dashed any hope of a top-four finish for CSK.

Propping up the bottom of the table, they will now be playing for pride in their remaining three fixtures...

'It's only a game' - is Dhoni's time coming to an end?

Could CSK's failure to qualify for the play-offs also mean captain and India legend MS Dhoni's time as a professional cricketer is nearing the end?

Dhoni retired from international cricket in August and it is not yet known if the 39-year-old will be back in CSK colours next season.

Whatever he decides, the wicketkeeper-batsman was offered some loving words of support from his wife on Sunday...

And it's fair to say this bloke is a huge Dhoni fan...

In the UK we paint post boxes gold to honour our sporting heroes. In India, they paint whole houses.

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