Jos Buttler’s magnificent second IPL hundred was beautifully complemented by a ‘five star’ Yuzvendra Chahal, who spun his web with a hat-trick when Rajasthan Royals won a high-scoring thriller against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday by 7 runs. Buttler’s 61-ball 103 had nine fours and five sixes while the Royals scored an impressive 217 for five, but KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer (85 from 51 balls) made it a match in the company of Aaron Finch (58 from 28 balls).
However, it was the 17th left when Chahal (5/40 in 4 overs) cleared Venkatesh Iyer from his first pitch and then Shreyas, Shivam Mavi and Pat Cummins from the fourth, fifth and sixth ball to turn the game completely upside down.
From 180 to 4 it became 180 to eight, but Umesh Yadav had other ideas. He skipped two sixes and a four on Trent Boult’s 18th to narrow the comparison down to 18 of the last two overs.
With 11 required from the last six balls, West Indian left arm pacer Obed McCoy kept his cool to persuade Sheldon Jackson and Umesh to cheer the Royals camp.
It was arguably the best IPL match of the current season, marking the 14th anniversary of the most watched T20 competition in world cricket.
And it couldn’t have been a more fitting day for Buttler to score a sparkling hundred on a day when rival coach Brendon MCCulllum had scored 158 from 73 balls to kick off the competition in 2008.
Some of Buttler’s shots were extraordinary, including one from Umesh (0/44 in 4 overs) hitting the adjacent tennis courts of the Cricket Club of India.
When he finally got out trying to hook Pat Cummins (1/50 in 4 overs), the Royals had crossed the 180-run mark by which time the Australian test captain was hammered for a whopping seven fours and a six, most of which by the dashing English goalkeeper-batter.
Buttler added 97 runs for the opening wicket score with Devdutt Padikkal (24 from 18 balls), who only faced deliveries of three overs in the first 10 overs.
After Padikkal’s departure, Buttler was joined by skipper Sanju Samson (38 from 19 balls), who was equally devastating in their 67-run second wicket score in just 5.4 overs.
None of the KKR bowlers saved by Sunil Narine (2/21 in 4 overs) appeared to pose a threat to Buttler, who appears to be walking away with the Orange Cap with a total of 375 runs in six games so far.
Varun Chakravarthy (0/30 in 2 overs) seemed to go from bad to worse over the season as there was no bite or mystery in his deliveries and it was like cannon fodder on a Brabourne batting beauty.
The fifth bowling option turned out to be a nightmare as Andre Russell (0/29 in 2 overs) completed Chakravarthy’s quota as they gave up 59 runs in 4 overs cumulatively.
Shivam Mavi (1/34 in 4 overs) and Umesh started well in the first two overs, mainly because Padikkal is out of order.
However, Padikkal showed cricketing savvy and gave Buttler the bulk of the attack and that changed course from the third over of the match.
Having started the tournament on a bright note, Umesh returned to his old self and was erratic when Buttler gave him a four and a six on consecutive deliveries.
Then the floodgates opened as he literally played with Chakravarthy, who he beat for a six by rocking back and had enough time to send him into orbit.
If there was a wide yorker, he would steer past the third man, short deliveries being pulled and those on the legs tucked behind square.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)