IPL 2019: Jos Buttler serves up tasty Rajasthan Royals win
'Keeper-batsman Jos Buttler slams 43-ball 89 as RR beat Mumbai Indians at Wankhede
Though it was Englishman Jos Buttler (89 off 43 balls, 8x4, 7x6), who laid the foundation for Rajasthan Royals' (RR) four-wicket win over Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League on Saturday, it was Karnataka all-rounder Shreyas Gopal (13 not out off seven balls), who countered the toughest phase of the game and overcame it by hitting the winning boundary at the Wankhede Stadium. In the process, MI's Quinton de Kock's 81 off 52 balls and comeback man Rohit Sharma's 47 went in vain as RR secured a scintillating win with three balls to spare.
Off-day for Joseph
No praise can be too high for Buttler, though. He smashed West Indian pacer Alzarri Joseph for 28 runs (2x6, 4x4) in the 13th over that changed the course of the game in favour of the visitors. When Buttler was dismissed in the 14th over, bowled by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, RR needed 41 off 40 balls. After Sanju Samson (31 off 26 balls) departed in the 17th over, RR lost Rahul Tripathi (1), Liam Livingstone (1) and Steve Smith (12) in the span of seven balls. The bowlers who worsened the situation for RR were Jasprit Bumrah (2-23) and Krunal Pandya (3-34), but Gopal, who had bowled four overs, conceding only 21 runs, showed his willow skills and got his team through to their second win this season.
RR pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, who sent back Suryakumar Yadav, highlighted the importance of Gopal's knock after the middle order collapse. "This is what T20 cricket is all about… you have to cope with the pressure and it is more about getting out of pressure rather than taking that pressure on yourself. I feel Shreyas [Gopal] did a wonderful job for us, took the pressure completely off and helped us win the game," Dhawal said at the post-match press conference.
Buttler stitched a 60-run stand for the opening wicket with his skipper Ajinkya Rahane (37) and then put on 87 with Sanju Samson for the second wicket as he registered his third half-century of the tournament. "Jos is a special player for our team and a knock like that changed the momentum of the game; brought us back. And he is doing that consistently," said Dhawal, who spoke about the challenge of bowling to Buttler in the RR nets: "It is challenging to bowl to him because he has all the shots, but I take that as a challenge and improve my bowling."
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