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Buttler 100* trumps Kohli’s 113* as Royals go 4-0 up

replay of , Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka, Group B, Asia Cup 2022, Dubai, August 27, 2022
Buttler 100* trumps Kohli’s 113* as Royals go 4-0 up


Rajasthan Royals 189 for 4 (Buttler 100*, Samson 69) beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru 183 for 3 (Kohli 113*, du Plessis 44, Chahal 2-34) by six wickets

Jos Buttler celebrated his 100th IPL match with a 58-ball century to return to form and lead Rajasthan Royals to their fourth win in four games in IPL 2024. Buttler got to the mark in style by hitting the winning runs – a six over midwicket – to finish unbeaten on 100, and his 148-run stand with Sanju Samson (69 in 42) for the second wicket set up the chase.

Their partnership was also the season’s highest, breaking the record set by Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis earlier in the day. Kohli led from the front to smack 113 in the first innings – his eighth IPL century and third in his last seven IPL innings – but it was also his slowest century, getting to the mark in 67 balls.

With no batter apart from du Plessis contributing, the onus was on Kohli to lift the Royal Challengers Bengaluru innings. And he did so successfully, carrying the bat till the end, but their total of 183 proved insufficient, sending them to their fourth defeat in five games.

Buttler leads, Samson follows

With scores of 11, 11, and 13, Buttler came into the game needing to change his fortunes. More so after he saw Yashasvi Jaiswal fall for a duck to Reece Topley. Then came a trademark Buttler scoop over wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik in the fourth over, his first boundary of the night.

Having got that one away, Buttler survived a tough catching chance on 6 the next delivery. That, however, did now slow him down. He launched into Yash Dayal and then hit left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar for three fours and a six in a 20-run sixth over. With Samson also matching him shot for shot, Buttler reached his first fifty of the season in the tenth over.

Buttler was especially strong against the inexperienced spinners Dagar and Himanshu Sharma. They often erred with their lengths, and he pounced on short balls by pulling over the leg side. He also pierced boundaries through the covers and ran down the pitch to hit both spin and pace down the ground.

His connections got better as the innings progressed, on display when he picked Dayal’s slower ball in the 13th over, had to wait ages for it to arrive where he stood and still flat-batted him for six. With one to win at the start of the 20th over, Buttler had a fairytale end to his evening when he pulled a six to reach his ton and seal the deal.

Kohli’s ton ends in defeat

Put in to bat, RCB needed their opening pair to get some runs, but it was meant to be a challenge against the team that was averaging three powerplay wickets per game. However, Trent Boult and Nandre Burger could not get the early breakthrough, and the Kohli-du Plessis pair put on 53 in the powerplay.

The start was promising for RCB since du Plessis survived the powerplay for the first time this season and Kohli looked fluid at his worst IPL venue (he averaged 21.90 in Jaipur before this game). Kohli was the majority contributor in their 125-run opening stand, scoring 72 compared to du Plessis’ 44 before the latter fell in the 14th over.

As he peppered boundaries off the pacers through the leg side, in particular by flicking off his toes through midwicket, Kohli also used his feet against Yuzvendra Chahal, the best Royals bowler, hitting him for two sixes. He saved his best for Avesh Khan, whom he struck for three fours through the off side in the 16th. Kohli then reached his ninth T20 century and eighth in IPL in the 19th over off Burger, before launching into Avesh again with two fours in the 20th to finish with a career-best IPL score of 113. He contributed 61.70% of runs for RCB and was one of two players batters in the innings to reach double-digits in a total of 183 for 3.

Chahal, Ashwin outbowl RCB’s spinners

It was an unusual bowling effort from Royals. They did not take a powerplay wicket, and Boult’s ineffectiveness up top meant it was the first game where he did not bowl a third over in the powerplay.

It was then that Samson turned to Ashwin and Chahal consecutively. Together, they went for 62 in eight overs – economy of 7.75. Their array of tricks kept a well-set Kohli, and others like du Plessis, Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell fairly quiet.

On the other hand, take RCB’s two spinners: rookies Dagar and Himanshu. Dagar was traded in from Sunrisers for Shahbaz Ahmed and Himanshu is a product of RCB’s scouting system. In only four overs (two apiece) they conceded one more than the total given away by Ashwin and Chahal in eight.

They missed their lengths too many times, and when they got it wrong, Samson and Buttler did not spare them. In all, 11 of their 24 balls went for either four or six, a clear determinant in Royals’ win with five balls to spare.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx



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