Another Buttler century lifts Rajasthan into IPL final
AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Jos Buttler’s record-equaling fourth century in this Indian Premier League lifted Rajasthan Royals to their first final with a thumping seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.
Buttler’s blistering unbeaten 106 off 60 balls romped Rajasthan to 161-3 with 11 balls to spare and set up the final against Gujarat Titans on Sunday.
Bangalore, made to bat in the playoff, got only seven runs from star Virat Kohli and was restricted to 157-8.
Buttler’s sixth six produced the winning runs. His fourth ton equaled Kohli’s record in the 2016 IPL. The hard-hitting Englishman also dished out 10 boundaries.
“I came to the season with very low expectations but a lot of energy,” Buttler said. “It is very exciting to stand in the final. Great excitement to have the opportunity to play in the final of the biggest tournament in T20 cricket.”
Its the first final for Rajasthan since it won the inaugural tournament in 2008.
Josh Hazlewood took 2-23 but the rest of the Bangalore bowlers struggled against the masterful batting of Buttler.
Young Yashasvi Jaiswal (21) hit two sixes and a four in the first over of Rajasthan’s run chase before Buttler dominated the pace and spin on a perfect batting pitch. He took on spinner Shahbaz Ahmed (0-35) and completed his half-century off just 23 balls by driving Harshal Patel through the covers.
Buttler, dropped on 66, completed 800 runs in the season by smashing Wanindu Hasaranga over mid-on for a six before completing his century off 59 balls with a single off Glenn Maxwell. The Englishman now has 818 runs in a season.
Kohli’s sub-par season ended with just two half-centuries from 16 games. He was beaten by the bounce of Prasidh Krishna and edged a simple catch after scoring just 7. Kohli scored just 341 runs at an average of 22.73 and a strike rate of 115.78.
Bangalore’s find of the season, Rajat Patidar, who scored a century to eliminate Lucknow Super Giants in the last playoff, again showed lot of maturity and top-scored with 58 off 42 balls before Buttler took a neat catch on the edge of the boundary to end Bangalore’s hopes of putting up a challenging total.
Bangalore batters struggled to put up partnerships against Krishna, 3-22 and Obed McCoy, 3-23. They struck with regular intervals by bowling at impressive lengths.
Captain Faf du Plessis labored for 27 deliveries to make 25 while Glenn Maxwell tried to break out but was brilliantly caught by a diving McCoy at fine leg in the 14th over in Trent Boult’s return spell.
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