Jos Buttler powered the Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling 4-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Match 43 of VIVO IPL 2018 on Friday night. The Englishman opened the innings and single-handedly propelled his team’s run-chase of 177 after CSK had posted 176-4 batting first. The Royals needed 12 off the final over – bowled by Dwayne Bravo; Buttler collected a couple of braces, followed it with a big hit over midwicket and then collected another brace to complete the job. The Royals got past the finish line with one ball to spare.
RR’s run-chase played out to a familiar script; Jos Buttler held his end and made his fourth consecutive half-century, while there was very little else from the other end. Buttler dominated the powerplay period and helped RR to 57-2 by the time the field restrictions were relaxed, after which the innings lost momentum. RR needed the set-batsman to bat on to the end, and the opener did that, finishing unbeaten on 95 from 60 balls. Sanju Samson (21 from 22 balls) and Stuart Binny (22 from 17 balls) made useful contributions in the middle, while K Gowtham’s cameo at the end – 13 from 4 balls – ensured the runs required were within Buttler’s reach in the final over.
Earlier in the evening, Chennai Super Kings were powered to 176 by Suresh Raina’s 35-ball 52 and contributions by the rest of the batsmen who got a hit in the middle. Shane Watson made 39 at the top of the innings, while MS Dhoni made an unbeaten 33 from 23 balls. Sam Billings, on his return to the CSK XI, contributed 27 from 22 balls. CSK got off to a blazing start, reaching 55-1 at the end of six overs, added 72 runs in the middle nine overs, and added a further 49 runs in the final five overs. The second wicket partnership of 86 runs between Suresh Raina and Shane Watson would be the biggest of the innings. After they were dismissed in quick succession, Billings and Dhoni added 55 runs for the fourth wicket.
Stand out batting performance
Jos Buttler posted his highest score in T20 and pretty much single-handedly powered the Royals’ chase. The Royals opener was quick off the blocks, scoring 40 off 21 balls in the powerplay period; he was particularly severe on Harbhajan Singh, off whom he collected three fours and a six in the first six overs. The Englishman then slowed down – or in better terms paced his innings, scoring 28 runs off the next 23 balls, before he worked out the requirements and executed brilliantly at the death. For the record, Buttler was the recipient of two difficult chances - on 67 and 80. Buttler also capitalised on the familiarity of David Willey, scoring 22 runs off 14 balls off his England teammate.
In the evening, Suresh Raina played possibly his first impactful innings of VIVO IPL 2018 when he scored a 35-ball 52 that powered CSK’s innings. The left-hander walked out to bat in the third over and batted for more than 10 overs, in the process contributing 52 of the 100-runs scored while at he crease.
Stand out bowling performance
Jofra Archer returned the most successful bowler in the match; the 23-year old dismissed the two CSK openers and ended with figures of 2-42. He struck very first ball when he had Ambati Rayudu dragging a wide delivery back onto his stumps, and then had Shane Watson top-edging an attempted pull. Archer did not concede too many boundaries but was poor on discipline – bowling 5 wides and one no ball.
For CSK, Ravindra Jadeja ended with the most respectable figures; the left-arm spinner bowled two overs in the powerplay – in which period he had returns of 1-13 – and eventually finished with figures of 4-0-28-1. His only victim on the night was the Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane, who edged to Suresh Raina at slip.
Stat of the Match
Jos Buttler’s 95 not out would be his highest score in T20 cricket.
Chennai Super Kings 176-4 (Suresh Raina 52, Shane Watson 39, Jofra Archer 2-42) lost to
Rajasthan Royals 177-6 in 19.5 overs (Jos Buttler 95*) by 4 wickets
Man of the Match:
Jos Buttler, for his match-winning 95 not out.