A fighting fifty by Jos Buttler (89 off 56) and Sanju Samson’s attacking knock (47 off 26) powered Rajasthan Royals to 188/6 against Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1 of the IPL 2022 at iconic Eden Gardens, here on Tuesday.
Apart from Buttler and Samson, Devdutt Padikkal (28 off 20) also made a valuable contribution with the bat for Rajasthan, after being invited to bat first.
Put into bat first, Rajasthan lost the wicket of Yashasvi Jaiswal in the last ball of the 2nd over of the innings. Jaiswal, after a painful 8-ball 3, nicked a wide Yash Dayal delivery through to the keeper and then walked despite the umpire not hearing anything.
Skipper Sanju Samson, who came to bat next, got off the mark in style, hitting six off the very first ball he faced in this innings. The stylish batter was in fine touch and kept hitting boundaries at regular intervals. Watching his batting partner bat with positive intent, Jos Buttler was happy to play second fiddle as Rajasthan finished the powerplay with 55/1.
However, Gujarat spinners — Rashid Khan and Sai Kishore pulled things back for their team as they bowled the next three overs with discipline. With run-rate going a bit down, Samson (47 off 26) decided to target inexperienced Sai Kishore but he ended up falling to him in the 10th over.
Left-handed Devdutt Padikkal, who came to bat after Samson’s wicket was showing positive intent in the middle by hitting Sai Kishore for couple of sixes Buttler was struggling to get going from the other end. It was skipper Hardik Pandya, who brought the next wicket for Gujarat by removing Padikkal, who tried to pull the ball but ended up dragging it to his stumps. Soon, Rashid Khan completed his tidy spell of 4 overs by giving just 15 runs.
With Buttler on 39 off 38 and Shimron Hetmyer, who had played very few balls, at the other end, Rajasthan were 127/3 in 16 overs. And, it seemed Gujarat will restrict them to a below-par total but Buttler had other plans.
Buttler, after starting off aggressively, stagnating in the middle overs, finally found some timing. The luck also began to favor him as Hardik and Rashid dropped the England cricketer at different stages. Buttler opened out in a big way towards the end as in the last 4 overs Gujarat dropped catches and did misfields under the pressure.
Despite Hetmyer’s wicket in the 19th over, Buttler continued his assault by smashing the ball all over the park. Overall, the last 4 overs produced 60 runs as Rajasthan Royals finished with 188-6 on the board. Hardik Pandya (1/14), Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore (1/43), Mohammed Shami (1/43) and Yash Dayal (1/46) were the wicket-takers for Gujarat Titans.