Royal rumble at Mumbai

Buttler slams his 2nd ton of season, Chahal claims hat-trick as RR defeat KKR by 7 runs .

Published: 19th April 2022 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th April 2022 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler (Photo| PTI)

Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler (Photo| PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  An online poll popped up on the TV screen, asking fans if Jos Buttler would win the Orange Cap. It was in the first over, and the Rajasthan Royals batter was yet to get off the mark against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. With the way the Englishman has batted in the 15th edition of the league, if anyone voted against the player, he/she may have been living under a rock for the past few weeks.

The Englishman had scores of 35 (28), 100 (68), 70 (47), 13 (11) and 54 (24) in the first five matches at a strike rate of 152.81 with 23 fours and 18 sixes. His clean hitting against both spin and pace has made bowlers draw a sorry picture of themselves, with the ball most often than not sailing into the stands. Those scenes were on full display once again as he treated the Kolkata bowlers with utter disdain. The 31-year-old scored his second ton of the season with his 103 comprising of nine fours and five sixes to power his team to 217/5.

Such hitting does not come as a surprise for the Rajasthan batter, who was retained by the franchise. He has played such knocks at the international scene. But his form in this IPL has been second to none. Only six matches into the competition, and he has already amassed 375 runs. It is already his second-best season ever. He leads Punjab Kings’ KL Rahul (second in the table) by 140 runs. It would not come as a surprise if Buttler outdoes his best (548 in 2018) this time around. 

So what makes him such a dangerous T20 player? The opener just knows one way to play in the powerplay, which helps in laying down a solid foundation. He has all the shots in the book and once he gets going, it is almost difficult to contain him. The same happened on Monday. In the first six overs, he had four fours and three sixes against his name, with his individual score being 46 (27) in the powerplay.
Buttler’s dominance was such that Sanju Samson’s 19-ball 38 looked minuscule. With almost five overs to go and Buttler on 90, he had a chance of outdoing his best individual score (124) in his IPL career. He brought up his 100 in 59 balls with a six off Pat Cummins in the 17th over, but was dismissed in the same over.

The task in front of Kolkata batters was massive, to say the least. To make matters worse, they lost opener Sunil Narine in the very first over. However, they, especially Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch, put up a gutsy batting show to make a real contest out of the match. Finch showed plenty of intent to hit 28-ball 58. Shreyas was in the zone and was finding boundaries at will. It felt like he could help Kolkata post an unlikely win. However, Yuzvendra Chahal, who had conceded 17 runs in his first over, changed the fate of the match with a hat-trick in the 17th over. Brief scores: RR 217/5 in 20 ovs (Buttler 103, Samson 38, Narine 2/21) bt KKR 210 in 19.4 ovs (Shreyas 85, Finch 58; Chahal 5/40).

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