Ben Stokes has made a winning return to cricket with his first match since August for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and though the England superstar made little impact, his galvanising presence still helped Steve Smith's side to much-needed five-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.
David Warner smashed 48 off 38 balls for Sunrisers before he was skittled by another familiar English foe, Jofra Archer, but their 4-158 total was overhauled on the penultimate ball of the Rajasthan reply.
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In Sunday's later match in Abu Dhabi, Mumbai Indians won the top-of-the-table battle as the defending champions beat Delhi Capitals by five wickets with two balls to spare.
All eyes in the IPL had been on the return of Stokes, who 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 bowled only one over and opened the batting alongside England team mate Jos Buttler.
It was his first T20 match in 238 days and, remarkably, it 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 he 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 his captain Smith, who made just five, he also fell victim to Khaleel to one that nipped back and trapped him lbw for 16 as Rajasthan stuttered in their pursuit.
But a brilliant partnership between Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag guided the Royals from 5-78 to a five-wicket victory with a ball to spare.
Warner falls victim to Jofra Archer again
Earlier, Warner had cracked two sixes and three fours in his 48 before being dismissed by Archer, who finished with impressive figures of 1-25 from his four overs.
It was deja vu for Warner; Archer dismissed him four times during Australia's white-ball tour of England in September.
The Australian was then forced to step in and play peacekeeper when Tewatia and Khaleel Ahmed were involved in a heated exchange after the final ball.
In Abu Dhabi, Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock struck half centuries in Mumbai's run chase before both went for 53.
Mumbai reached 5-166 in 19.4 overs in reply to Delhi's 4-162, which had featured Shikhar Dhawan's 69 not out, his first half century of the season while captain Shreyas Iyer laboured to 42 off 33 balls. Spinner Krunal Pandya played a vital role in restricting Delhi by finishing with 2-26.
Leaders Mumbai and Delhi still occupy the top two places at the halfway mark in the league stage with 10 points each from seven games.
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