Jos Buttler finally announced his arrival in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals (RR) with a 64-ball 124 – his maiden T20 ton – to script a comfortable 55-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Delhi on 2 May.
Following the high-scoring drama between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians on the previous night, the Royals made merry at the same venue by putting up 220/3 after Kane Williamson, the new SRH captain, opted to field. In reply, the Orange Army was got 165/8, with Mustafizur Rahman and Chris Morris taking three wickets apiece.
SRH left out David Warner for off-spin-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. They sent Manish Pandey to open alongside Jonny Bairstow. Chasing that mammoth target, the pair did its best to gain some momentum in the Powerplay. Pandey (32 in 20 balls) initially struggled in his new role. Then he got going with a couple of sixes before being castled by Mustafizur the first ball after Powerplay.
At the other end, Bairstow was the main aggressor when the field restrictions were on as SRH scored 57 in the first six overs. However, he lost his wicket to Rahul Tewatia. From there, the Rajasthan bowlers tightened their grip in the game.
With the asking rate mounting, Williamson (21 in 20) went for the big shots, only to be caught at deep mid wicket by Morris off Kartik Tyagi. Following his departure wickets tumbled at regular intervals.
Mohammad Nabi (17 off 5) injected some hope in the SRH camp, smashing Tewatia for two sixes in the 14th over. However, he was deceived by a slower delivery to become the second scalp of Mustafizur.
With 91 needed in the last five overs, the lower- and middle-order struggled against the death bowling of Morris and Mustafizur. Mustafizur, especially, had a terrific outing, taking 3-20 in his four overs.
Earlier in the afternoon, opening alongside young Yashasvi Jaiswal, Buttler went after the bowling straightway despite losing his partner early. For the second wicket, he formed a match-decisive 150-run stand with his skipper Sanju Samson (48 off 33). Through their counter-attacking approach the pair powered Rajasthan to a commanding position.
Buttler hit as many as eight sixes and 11 fours. Barring Rashid Khan (4-0-24-1), every other SRH bowler was taken apart by him. Even Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s return to the line-up did not make much of an impact: his four wicketless overs went for 37.
With this victory Rajasthan have now moved to fifth place, with six points from seven games. SRH, on the other hand, remained at the bottom, with just a solitary win, against Mumbai Indians.
Rajasthan Royals 220/3 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 124; Rashid Khan 1-24) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 165/8 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 31; Mustafizur Rahman 3-20, Chris Morris 3-29) by 55 runs. Player of the Match: Jos Buttler.
Player of the match: Jos Buttler
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