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Home / Cricket / IPL 2018: First Sanju Samson, now Jos Buttler carrying Rajasthan Royals’ play-off hopes

IPL 2018: First Sanju Samson, now Jos Buttler carrying Rajasthan Royals’ play-off hopes

Rajasthan Royals have won six games in IPL 2018 so far and on five of those occasions, it was either Sanju Samson or Jos Buttler who walked away with the man-of-the-match award.

cricket Updated: May 14, 2018 08:40 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Jos Buttler plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 13, 2018.
Jos Buttler plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 13, 2018. (AFP)

If there’s a side that has been completely dependent on individual performances and has yet found ways to somehow keep their play-off hopes alive, it has to be Rajasthan Royals. (MI v RR REPORT)

The Royals have won six games so far and on five of those occasions, it was either Sanju Samson or Jos Buttler who walked away with the man-of-the-match award. (HIGHLIGHTS) (FULL SCORECARD)

It has been a tale of two halves for the duo with Samson carrying the mantle in the first half of the season followed by Buttler in the second.

It was Buttler’s third consecutive man-of-the-match performance as he toyed with the Mumbai Indians bowling attack, thus helping his side chase down 168 with 12 balls and seven wickets to spare.

Buttler’s innings oozed class. Right from the first ball, the Englishman seemed to be on top of his game and continued from where he had left during his unbeaten knock of 95 against Chennai Super Kings.

While he missed his century by just five runs back then, he missed one again on Sunday by six, albeit he wouldn’t mind them one bit owing to the results that these knocks have fetched.

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Mumbai looked clueless in their attempt to tackle Buttler. After all, in the pre-match press conference, all that Krunal Pandya had in offer on being asked how do they plan to keep Buttler in check was: “If you see the positive side, he has been consistent for the last 3-4 games, so he’s due for one bad game. So I see it in that way as an opponent,” he had said.

Such planning against a batsman who’s now slammed five consecutive half centuries only had one outcome. For the first three overs, Buttler held himself back, trying to gauge the bounce of the Wankhede Stadium; something that had helped the likes of Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes trouble the Mumbai batsmen with.

Once that initial recce was done, he lofted Krunal Pandya inside out over the cover region for a boundary. By the time one got done appreciating it, the next one was dislodged over backward square for his first six on the night.

After that he was simply unstoppable. He notched up three consecutive boundaries off the next three overs to keep the scoreboard ticking and the asking rate in check while his skipper Ajinkya Rahane did what he does best — assist from the other end.

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The two put up 95 runs for the second wicket in which while Rahane contributed at a modest rate of 36-ball 37, Buttler had 55 off 38 deliveries. He ended the day with nine boundaries and five sixes as he put up a 53-ball 94 to climb up the No 5 on the highest run-getter’s list in this campaign.

It had virtually taken away the game from the hosts, turning the tables despite drawing first blood in the very first over while laying down the foundation for someone like Sanju Samson to come out and start taking the bowlers at will; slamming a quick-fire 14-ball 26.

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