Buttler, Archer star in Royals’ big win

After Jofra Archer’s imposing display with the ball, Jos Buttler (94* off 53 balls) got into the thick of action and delivered a seven-wicket victory to keep RR alive in the play-offs race.

Jos Buttler (left) celebrates the winning runs against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

 

Rajasthan Royals’ Jofra Archer, bought at a whopping Rs 7.2 crore at the auction, contributed in big way in the crucial fixture against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.

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Archer directed two short balls on the left side of the MI’s top two batsmen — Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma — and had them trapped at long leg, caught remarkably well by Jaydev Unadkat. After Archer’s imposing display with the ball, Jos Buttler (94* off 53 balls) got into the thick of action and delivered a seven-wicket victory to keep RR alive in the play-offs race.

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The innovative knock from the Royals stumper, also his fifth consecutive half-century in the Indian Premier League, took his run tally to 509 in 12 games.

 

Promoted as an opener, Buttler’s second unconquered 90-plus undertaking reflected his complete domination, especially against leg-spinner Mayank Markande. He hit nine fours and five sixes. His 91-run partnership with skipper Ajinkya Rahane for the second wicket provided the much needed stability after which he played shots at will and finished the match with a six.

After inviting MI to bat, Royals brought the gangling Archer into action in the third over of the powerplay, after offie Krishnappa Gowtham and seamer Dhawal Kulkarni had conceded twenty runs. And, Archer made life miserable for Evin Lewis, who has the reputation of being a big-hitter.

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MI was far from the spectacular with Yadav and Lewis not given opportunities to throw their wrists at will, but at 87 for no loss at the halfway mark, the home team was looking to post near about 200 on the board.

Then came the Archer show. He had come into the seventh match with a tally of 11 wickets at 17.82 and with an economy rate ranging between 5.50 (against MI at Jaipur) and 11.73 (against KXIP in Indore). He showed his class, tormenting MI in every over. After the Archer-Jaydev Unadkat act, Sanju Samson thrilled the crowd holding three catches in the deep.

Archer returned with figures of 2/16 from four overs; it could have been three scalps if Stuart Binny, running backwards from mid on, had managed to hold a stiff chance to dismiss Lewis in the third over.