Buttler pulls off thrilling chase to keep RR afloat

Jos Buttler made an unbeaten 95 and, with crucial cameos from Stuart Binny and Krishnappa Gowtham, helped Rajasthan Royals get level on points (10) with Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.

Jos Buttler was mobbed by his jubilant team-mates after he hit the winning runs for Rajasthan Royals.   -  Kamal Kishore

Jos Buttler made a fourth consecutive half-century opening the batting for Rajasthan Royals and helped chase down a above-par score of 177 on the penultimate ball of the match. This victory helped Royals get level on points (10) with Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, which are above it on the table, and made the qualification scenario even more interesting heading into the weekend.

For CSK, M. S. Dhoni struggled to get the ball off the square and struggled to a 23-ball 33. Suresh Raina had top-scored with 52 off 35 balls, with fours and sixes at a premium. The final five overs produced only 49 runs for CSK, which had been a healthy three for 127 at the end of 15 overs.


Ish Sodhi was the standout spinner for Royals, finishing one for 29 in four overs. Jofra Archer (4-0-42-2), Jaydev Unadkat (4-0-34-0) and Ben Stokes (4-0-31-0) combined to make life difficult for the Chennai batsmen. Essentially, the Rajasthan bowlers brought their team back into the contest with a good containing job at the death.

Earlier, Ambati Rayudu had failed to get going and was bowled off the first Jofra Archer delivery for 12. His fellow opener, Shane Watson, also struggled for rhythm, and made 39 runs off 31 balls. Raina was the aggressor early on for the visitor, taking it to 50 in the last over of the powerplay and continuing to up the scoring rate even after the field restrictions were complete.

As it happened

Anchoring a chase of 176 magnificently, opener Jos Buttler (95 no, 60 balls, 11x4, 2x6) turned fortunes around to fashion a thrilling four-wicket victory. Krishnappa Goutham smashes two sixes in the penultimate over of David Willey and his four-ball 13 was immense in the context of Rajasthan chase.

CSK banked on death-over specialist Dwayne Bravo in the 20th over, off which Rajasthan needed 12 runs to win. The first three balls produced only four runs, the third ball inducing a top-edge off Buttler's blade and falling in no-man's land. The equation of eight runs off three balls was still a formidable one for the home team but the well-set Buttler swatted a slower delivery from Bravo (the fourth of the over) for a six over deep mid-wicket to leave his team needing two runs off two balls. He then took a tight single on the fifth delivery, with Shane Watson, fielding at cover, having a chance to catch Buttler short of his crease with a direct hit. He missed the target and Buttler ran the overthrow to take Rajasthan home.

Ben Stokes opened the batting in a surprise move which didn't really go to plan. He missed a straight delivery from Harbhajan Singh after hitting a six over mid-wicket, falling for 11 off seven balls. Ajinkya Rahane guided a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to first slip to be out for four. CSK had regained control at this point, after a blistering start from Buttler. Sanju joined the Englishman and wasn't at his flowing best. He struggled to find the gaps and couldn't find the boundary as he has been able to on occasions this season. Having gotten himself to 21 runs off 21 balls, Samson was involved in a mix-up with Buttler and was run out for a scratchy 22-ball 21. 

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