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Star Performer: Buttler whips it up for Royals

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 20, 2020 07:18 IST
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Jos Buttler

IMAGE: Jos Buttler hits out during the IPL game against the Chennai Super Kings. Photograph: BCCI/IPL
 

After restricting Chennai Super Kings for a below-par 125, Rajasthan Royals must have fancied their chances of chasing down the total easily.

However, CSK's pacers revived their team's hopes with a superb showing in the early overs.

Opener Ben Stokes tried to smash his way around in the Powerplay and give the Royals a brisk start so that the other batsmen could have it easier in the middle overs against the spinners. But the England all-rounder's no-holds barred approach did not last long as he was bowled by Deepak Chahar for 19 from 11 balls.

Josh Hazlewood, who made a comeback in this game, also started off well with the ball. He was lucky that Robin Uthappa threw his wicket away with a reckless premeditated paddle scoop and was caught by wicket=keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Sanju Samson failed once again and must have also got a lesson in wicket-keeping from Dhoni, who took a superb low catch down the leg side.

With Royals reduced to 28/3 in the fifth over, CSK were firmly back in the contest.

It could have got even worse as Steve Smith escaped a close leg before wicket appeal courtesy a faint inside edge as Royals struggled to 31/3 in the six overs of Powerplay.

Jos Buttler's positive approach completely changed the course of the match.

On a pitch, where all the batsmen struggled to get going, he looked totally at home. He went after Ravindra Jadeja in his first over, reverse sweeping him for a four and also targetted Hazlewood over mid-on for a boundary in the next over.

As Smith found it hard to get to grips with the pitch struggling to eight runs from 20 balls, Buttler made for up it at the other end.

He took on Shardul Thakur in the 12th over to release the pressure on his captain and team. He slashed Thakur for a four through point and then lofted him for a six down the ground.

He completed his half-century off 37 balls in the 15th over when he smashed Piyush Chawla straight back for a four, in the 15th over.

The next two deliveries were also hit for boundaries as Buttler brought Royals close to a morale-boosting win in a tough run chase.

He had some luck towards the end as he lofted Chawla down to long-on where Ravindra Jadeja leapt high to take the catch but lost his balance and fell over the boundary to give away a six, in the 17th over.

Buttler finished unbeaten on a whirlwind knock of 70 from 48 balls, which included seven fours and two sixes, to keep Royals's hopes of making it to the play-offs alive, while putting CSK on the verge of missing out on the play-offs for the first time.

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