Buttler’s ton trumps Kohli’s valiant effort as Royals take top spot

PC – BCCI. Buttler returned to form with a ton

Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 100 off 58 deliveries trumped Virat Kohli’s undefeated ton as Rajasthan Royals handed Royal Challengers Bengaluru yet another defeat in the IPL 2024. Royals chased down the target of 184 with five balls to spare to go atop the table with 8 points.

Buttler, Samson and fireworks; RCB miss a trick

At the start of the game, Reece Topley extracted a hint of bounce and just enough movement to trouble Royals’ batters. He was also rewarded with the scalp of Yashasvi Jaiswal. Faf du Plessis could have continued with Topley for one more over, but decided not to. And that didn’t exactly turn out to be a good move from the veteran South African cricketer. 

It was in the sixth over when Buttler decided to hit top gear, smacking Mayank Dagar for three fours and a six. Dagar again came in for some punishment in the 11th over, with Samson clubbing him for two boundaries and a six. Himanshu Sharma, the other spinner in the RCB attack, too, couldn’t find his groove. Although Royals lost the wickets of Samson, Riyan Parag and Dhruv Jurel in quick succession, Buttler steered the side past the finishing line. He also won the game for his team in some style by pulling Cameron Green to complete his hundred. Incidentally, it was also his 100th IPL game. 

Samson’s fine leadership qualities

There was a time during RCB’s innings, when the home side’s seamers were getting smashed around. At that stage, Samson rightly used Riyan Parag’s part-time option for an over. That gave RR a bit of buffer in terms of employing their pace options. His gut feel of preferring Nandre Burger over the experienced Trent Boult also worked out quite well, with RCB adding only four runs in the 19th over. His field placements were mostly on the money as well. 

RR’s spinners outbowl RCB’s tweakers

The experienced duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin gave away 62 runs off eight overs, with the former bagging a couple of scalps. Chahal could have taken more wickets, but a couple of catches were dropped off his bowling. At the start of the innings, there was a hint of purchase for the spinners, and Chahal in particular used that to good effect. 

Meanwhile, Dagar and Himanshu couldn’t pick up a single wicket between them. To make matters worse, Royals’ batters collected 63 runs in just four overs versus the spin pair. Although in their defence, the dew did play a part in the second innings.

Kohli’s hundred in vain, questionable tactics by RCB

It was a trademark innings from Kohli. He slowly changed gears and finished with a valuable 113 off 72 deliveries. He also stitched an opening stand of 125 with du Plessis. Unfortunately for RCB, the rest of the batters combined to score only 59 runs between them. Yes, questions would again be asked about Kohli’s strike rate. And there would be scrutiny about his game against the spinners. At RCB, his minor chink while facing the spinners is magnified as most of his team-mates are in poor form. 

In addition, RCB’s think-tank made some mistakes. Mahipal Lomror, known for his hitting prowess, was listed as an Impact sub and couldn’t find a place in the starting XI. Dinesh Karthik didn’t even get a chance to bat. Instead, RCB ended up with Green and Saurav Chauhan, the IPL debutant, in the slog overs.

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