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KKR vs RR, Indian Premier League: Bang bang Jos Buttler upstages Sunil Narine in thriller

Royals opener's unbeaten century helps team chase down tall target set by Knights

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 17.04.24, 08:37 AM
Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler during his majestic innings of 107 not out off 60 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Tuesday. This was Buttler's seventh IPL ton and he is second only to Virat Kohli (8) on the all-time list. While Kohli has played 244 IPL games, this was only Buttler's 102nd match. 

Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler during his majestic innings of 107 not out off 60 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Tuesday. This was Buttler's seventh IPL ton and he is second only to Virat Kohli (8) on the all-time list. While Kohli has played 244 IPL games, this was only Buttler's 102nd match.  Sanat Kumar Sinha

Sunil Narine had scripted what appeared to be a perfect night for the Kolkata Knight Riders. But it wasn’t to be.

Returning to the side as Impact Player, Jos Buttler (107 not out off 60 balls) produced an exceptional, unbeaten innings that drove Rajasthan Royals to chase down a daunting 224-run target and record a two-wicket win at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

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If Narine’s innings was that of authority, Buttler’s was that of quality, patience, determination and composure. All these four facets helped him pull off an unbelievable win for the Royals, which did look impossible once they were six down for 121 with still 103 needed off 46 balls.

 KKR's Sunil Narine pulls one during his innings of 109 off 56 balls against Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

KKR's Sunil Narine pulls one during his innings of 109 off 56 balls against Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens on Tuesday. Sanat Kumar Sinha

Precisely, Buttler won the game single-handedly for the Royals, who cemented their place at the top with 12 points. Even KKR principal owner Shah Rukh Khan couldn’t help but clap for Buttler’s marvellous knock that overshadowed Narine’s maiden IPL hundred earlier in the evening. Just as he had done after Virat Kohli had scored a century in Jaipur earlier in this IPL.

Royals overcame a number of obstacles. Shimron Hetmyer had perished for nought. The Royals had also erred by sending Ravichandran Ashwin, who also returned to the team, ahead of both Hetmyer and Rovman Powell.

But the game gradually began to change during Buttler’s seventh-wicket stand of 57 with Powell (26 off 13 balls). Narine, despite cramping up a bit, managed to trap Powell lbw after he had picked up Dhruv Jurel earlier. But that was not before Powell had hammered him for a four and couple of sixes in that 17th over.

The Royals lost their eighth wicket in the form of Trent Boult, who was run out. The task looked seemingly impossible then for the Royals as Buttler had to get all of those remaining 38 runs if they had to win.

He made sure he did it, unleashing fours and sixes one after another and ensuring No.10 batter Avesh Khan didn’t face a single delivery of those remaining 15 balls. Off the final over of the game, he slammed Varun Chakravarthy for a six, but didn’t panic at all with those dot balls. And with one needed off the last ball, he calmly got the run to take the Royals home.

Earlier, Narine smashed leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal through the mid-wicket region for a four, sprinted towards the non-striker’s end and celebrated with a leap in the air as he registered his maiden T20 ton. It was a masterful exhibition of clean striking.

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