• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Jos Buttler’s century leads Rajasthan to last-ball win over Kolkata

Jos Buttler notched his season’s second century in just 55 balls. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Jos Buttler hit an unbeaten 107, outshining Sunil Narine’s explosive century, as the Rajasthan Royals clinched a nail-biting two-wicket win against the Kolkata Knight Riders on the final ball, achieving a record-equalling IPL chase of 224 at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

Rajasthan were once in big trouble at 121-6 by the 13th over, but Buttler’s 60-ball masterpiece shifted the momentum, mirroring Rajasthan’s 2020 record chase of 224 against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah.

Entering as an impact substitute, Buttler notched his season’s second century in just 55 balls with a six off Varun Chakravarthy at the start of the ultimate over.

Despite battling cramps and facing initial struggles with his rhythm, Buttler secured the victory with a calculated single on the last delivery, keeping Rajasthan at the top of the leaderboard with six wins in seven matches.

“Keep believing, that was the real key today,” Buttler said after the game. He added, “There’s been plenty of times throughout the IPL, you’ve seen crazy things happen. Guys like (MS) Dhoni and (Virat) Kohli, the way they stay till the end and keep believing, and I tried to do the same.”

With his performance, including nine fours and six sixes, Buttler surpassed Chris Gayle with seven IPL centuries, trailing only behind Virat Kohli’s eight.

Buttler’s innings included crucial partnerships, adding 50 runs with Riyan Parag (34), 57 with Rovman Powell (26), and an unbroken 38 with Avesh Khan, who ended on 0 not out. Spinners Narine, Chakravarthy, and pacer Harshit Rana each took two wickets for KKR.

Kolkata’s captain, Shreyas Iyer, shared his disappointment, saying, “Emotions were a roller-coaster, certainly didn’t think we would get into this situation. It’s a funny game at the end of the day; he was striking the ball cleanly and timing them so well, have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Earlier, Narine’s spectacular 109 off 56 deliveries took Kolkata to a formidable total of 223-6. Narine put on 85 runs for the second wicket with Angkrish Raghuvanshi, who hit 30, and got together for a 51-run stand with Andre Russell.

Narine, playing his 504th T20 match, reached his ton from 49 balls with a six and a four off Yuzvendra Chahal for Kolkata’s third hundred in the IPL. He was finally bowled by a Trent Boult yorker before he returned to a standing ovation.

Narine moved into the top three in the batting charts led by Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Kohli (361) with 276 runs.

Rinku Singh finished off the innings with his unbeaten nine-ball 20, including a four and two sixes.

(AFP)

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