Jos Buttler extended his golden run, plundering his third century (116, 65b, 9x4, 9x6) of IPL-15 and setting up Rajasthan Royals’ 15-run win over Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday. The victory sent the Jaipur-based franchise to the top of the table.
Riding on Buttler’s second consecutive hundred, and his record opening partnership of 155 off 91 balls with Devdutt Padikkal, Royals amassed 222 for two, the highest total of the season.
To chase down such a mammoth target, at least one Capitals batter had to repeat Buttler’s heroics. Prithvi Shaw gave the side a blistering start; Rishabh Pant played a cameo in the middle and Lalit Yadav-Rovman Powell displayed their power-hitting skills.
Still, the well-oiled Royals bowling attack restricted Capitals to 207 for eight. The only time Royals appeared to be a tad worried was when Powell struck two sixes off Trent Boult in the 18th over to give Capitals a remote shot at victory. With 36 required off two overs, Prasidh Krishna bowled a dream over. The wicket maiden, which saw him dismiss a fast-scoring Lalit, ensured Powell had too tough a task.
Dramatic final over
Powell made a fist of it, hammering the first three deliveries for sixes off Obed McCoy in the final over.
The third of those was followed by a dramatic protest by Capitals, who thought it was an above-the-waist no ball. Capitals’ assistant coach Pravin Amre even sprinted to the middle to speak to the umpires. Despite the drama, the night belonged to Royals.
Earlier, it took until the end of the PowerPlay for Buttler to get going. He hit left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who had beaten him on multiple occasions in the first over, with two towering sixes on the leg-side to stamp his authority.
From thereon, until he holed out to David Warner off the last ball of the penultimate over, Buttler was in scintillating form. Kuldeep Yadav was dispatched into the sight-screen with disdain, Shardul Thakur was hit into the top tier of the Sachin Tendulkar stand for a 107m six and Lalit, too, faced the heat. Had Shardul not misjudged a catch on the midwicket boundary in the 13th over — running in instead of staying put just inside the rope — Lalit might have been rewarded with Buttler’s wicket.
While Buttler was clobbering sixes at will, Padikkal raced to a classy half-century, handling Axar Patel’s left-arm spin with aplomb.
The duo’s 155-run association was Royals’ highest stand in the IPL, surpassing Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson’s unbroken 152-run partnership against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi in October 2020.
Padikkal perished to a near-perfect yorker by Khaleel that shaped in and caught him in front.
Buttler, who had cruised from 82 to 99 by going berserk against Kuldeep in the over before that, flicked Khaleel and sprinted for two to celebrate his third hundred of the season. Sanju Samson’s cameo helped Royals sustain the momentum as the last five overs fetched a whopping 67, the skipper finishing it with a flick off Shardul over deep square-leg for his fifth, and 21st six, of the innings.