Just a few months ago, towards the end of last year, Jos Buttler was struggling, like most of his other England teammates, in the Ashes. Cut to the IPL and it seems Jos is the boss again. T20 cricket always brings the best out of him.
A consistent performer for his franchise, Buttler’s brilliant batting earned him a century and also laid the platform for Rajasthan Royals’ convincing 23-run win over Mumbai Indians (MI) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
The Royals now have four points from two games, while MI are yet to open their account after two losses.
Buoyed by Buttler’s 68-ball 100 and Shimron Hetmyer’s 35 off only 14 balls, the Royals, sent in to bat, put up a solid total of 193/8. They would easily have crossed 200 if not for Jasprit Bumrah (3/17) and Tymal Mills (3/35), who came up with tidy, accurate bowling in the last two overs of the innings.
In reply, MI lost captain Rohit Sharma early in the second over off Prasidh Krishna, but Ishan Kishan (54 off 43 balls) and 19-year-old Hyderabad batsman Tilak Varma (61 off 33 balls) kept the five-time champions very much on track with their enterprising 81-run third-wicket stand. But Trent Boult delivered for the Royals just when required, accounting for Ishan.
Soon after, Ravichandran Ashwin brought his experience into play to finally prevail over the impressive Varma, taking pace off the ball and giving it a little more spin to castle the youngster, who had reverse-swept the senior off-spinner for a big six off the previous ball.
But with Kieron Pollard at the crease, MI’s hopes were alive. However, they kept losing wickets at the other end as leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2/26) too struck off back-to-back deliveries in the 16th over. In the end, all MI could manage was 170 for 8.
At the end of the Powerplay overs, the Royals were two down for 48. And that’s when Buttler brought out his A-game. Once he got his eye in, there was no stopping the Englishman, who went on to smash 11 fours and five maximums.
Alongside one of his favourite shots, which is going deeper inside the crease and clearing his front leg to deposit the ball over the leg side, Buttler also picked up cheeky boundaries. It required a Bumrah yorker in the final over of the Royals innings to remove Buttler. But he had already done the damage by then.