Abu Dhabi: Ben Stokes' spectacular hundred overshadowed Hardik Pandya's six-hitting spree as Rajasthan Royals spiced up the IPL play-offs race with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians here on Sunday.
Stokes, who plundered 14 fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 60-ball 107, found an able ally in Sanju Samson (54 not out off 31) as their unbroken 152-run partnership allowed Royals to make short work of the 196-run target. They cantered to victory in 18.2 overs.
Mumbai had put up an imposing 195/5 courtesy a 21-ball 60 by Hardik, who smashed seven sixes and two fours. It was the fourth loss for Mumbai , who remain at the top of the standings.
The comprehensive win over the defending champions not only kept Royals alive in the tournament, but also eliminated Chennai Super Kings from the competition.
The night belonged to Stokes, who tore into the Mumbai attack after Royals lost opener Robin Uthappa (13) and Steve Smith (11) early. The southpaw was back to his very best, having struggled with his timing in the earlier games.
Stokes collected four boundaries off Trent Boult in the third over.
The Englishman then went on offensive against Krunal Pandya, smashing two fours before a boundary and six against Rahul Chahar with Royals racing to 75/2 after eight overs.
Stokes and Sanju played shots at will with Royals collecting 18 and 19 runs off the 13th and 14th over bowled by James Pattinson and Chahar.
Stokes completed his 100 off 59 balls, with a thumping six over deep mid-wicket and fittingly finished the match with a boundary.
Earlier, Hardik displayed his rare six-hitting ability for the first time this season to propel Mumbai to 195/5.
Mumbai suffered a mini-collapse in the middle-overs, but late hitting from Hardik, who plundered two fours and seven sixes, and Saurabh Tiwary (34 of 25) enabled the defending champions to amass 74 runs in the last four overs.
Tiwary and Hardik shared a 64-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Tiwary was brutal against Archer (2/31) in the 17th over, smashing two fours and a maximum while Hardik hammered four sixes off Ankit Rajpoot (0/60) in the 18th over, which went for 27 runs.
Hardik launched into Kartik Tyagi (1/45) in the final over, hitting him for three sixes and two fours.
After Mumbai lost opener Quinton de Kock (6) early, Ishan Kishan (37 off 36 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (40 off 26) rallied the innings with their 83-run second-wicket stand.
Kishan and Yadav tore into pacer Rajpoot, smashing a six each as Mumbai raced to 59/1 after six overs.
Yadav went on the offensive against Shreyas Gopal, collecting two boundaries in the ninth over.
But Rajasthan pulled things back by dismissing Kishan, Yadav and Kieron Pollard (6) in quick succession as Mumbai slipped to 101/4.
Kishan perished courtesy a one-handed blinder from Archer at third-man, off Tyagi, and then Gopal removed Yadav and Pollard in the 13th over.
While Yadav gave a sitter to Ben Stokes, Pollard was undone by a googly, which uprooted his stumps.