• Monday, May 20, 2024

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Jos Buttler helps Rajasthan to remain unbeaten

Jos Buttler plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on April 6, 2024. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

JOS BUTTLER hit an unbeaten 100 to trump Virat Kohli’s first century of the IPL season as Rajasthan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru by six wickets on Saturday (6).

Buttler reached his ton, from 58 balls, with a six in his 100th IPL match when Rajasthan needed one for victory in their chase of 184, with five balls to spare in Jaipur.

Buttler, who struck form after he scored 35 across the previous three matches, put on 148 runs for the second wicket with skipper Sanju Samson, who made 69.

“Had a little bit of luck, did not time it well, just got over the rope, delighted with the win,” Buttler said of his winning hit over the deep mid-wicket fence.

“However long you’ve played the game, you still have those anxieties and stresses. The mind is a powerful thing, just keep digging in, keep working hard and you need a little bit of luck along the way.”

Earlier Kohli reached his eighth IPL ton — the most by any batsman — in 67 balls and finished on an unbeaten 113 to take Bengaluru to 183-3.

But his effort was not enough as inaugural champions Rajasthan remained unbeaten in the season with four wins as they took top spot in the 10-team table, ahead of second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders who have three wins in as many matches.

Buttler, who now has six tons in the IPL along with Chris Gayle, started slowly before he hammered Mayank Dagar for three fours and a six in a 20-run sixth over to set up the chase.

Samson also took on the opposition attack after he joined Buttler following the loss of Yashasvi Jaiswal to the second ball of the innings.

Both Samson and Buttler brought the crowd alive at their home venue with delightful strokeplay and 16 fours and five sixes between the two.

Rajasthan suffered a bit of a stutter after Samson departed and they lost two more wickets but Buttler stood firm along with Shimron Hetmyer, who made 11 off six.

Kohli, 35, hit the first hundred of the 17th edition of the IPL as he reached the three-figure mark with a single off Nandre Burger and took off his helmet and raised his bat to a cheering crowd.

“I don’t want to be over-aggressive, want to keep the bowler guessing. They want me to go hard and get me out,” Kohli said.

“It’s just experience and maturity. I play the conditions and have the game ready.”

Kohli hit his third fifty-plus score of this season as he put on an opening stand of 125 with skipper Faf du Plessis, who hit 44, to lay the foundations for the total.

Kohli reached his half-century off 39 balls with a six, hitting Riyan Parag down the ground.

Du Plessis fell to Yuzvendra Chahal as he gave a catch to long-on. Burger soon bowled Glenn Maxwell for one to check the surge.

Kohli stood firm and hit back as he finished with 12 fours, including three in the final over, and four sixes in his 72-ball knock.

The former India captain consolidated his position at the top of this year’s batting chart with 316 runs in five matches.

Kohli is still awaiting his first IPL title with Bengaluru.

(AFP)

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