Ben Stokes scored his maiden hundred in T20's and combined with MS Dhoni for a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket, which guided Pune past Gujarat with one ball to spare in the Indian Twenty20 competition at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Monday.
The hosts needed eight runs an over from the onset in their pursuit of a middling 162-run target, but Gujarat's seamers Pradeep Sangwan and Basil Thampi tore through Pune top order, leaving them reeling at 11 for 3 by the second over. Stokes looked in ominous form right from the onset as he punched his fifth ball for four past the stumps at the other end, and raced away to 25 off 17 to keep the required rate in check. But a mix-up sent back Rahul Tripathi, which reduced Pune to 42 for 4 in 5.3 overs. Pune needed to stem the wicket procession as Stokes and Dhoni came together. While Dhoni struggled against the spinners early in his innings, Stokes had no such problems as he hit successive sixes over long-on off Jadeja in the 10th over.
With 72 needed off 36 balls, Dhoni cut loose against the seamers and clubbed James Faulkner for a six over midwicket, while Stokes clattered Dwayne Smith for six and four in the next over. Dhoni finally departed in the 17th over for a 33-ball 26. Stokes remained unbeaten on a 63-ball 103 that guided Pune home. Dhoni and Stokes had scored at 7.12 runs in the 10.4 overs that they batted together.