Jos Buttler’s 103 and a hat-trick by Yuzvendra Chahal helped the Rajasthan Royals beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by seven runs in a nail-biting IPL contest on Monday.
The England batsman smashed his second IPL century this season to power Rajasthan to 217-5 – the highest total of this edition.
Umesh Yadav nearly got Kolkata through with his nine-ball 21, but West Indies left-arm quick Obed McCoy held his nerve on his IPL debut to defend 11 in the final over and bowl out the opposition for 210 in 19.4 overs.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer drove the chase with his valiant 51-ball 85 but Chahal, a leg-spinner who returned IPL-best figures of 5-40, took him down at the start of the hat-trick that ended with a four-wicket over.
Rajasthan, who won the inaugural edition under Australia great Shane Warne, recorded their fourth win in six matches to climb to second behind table-toppers the Gujarat Titans on the 15th birthday of the IPL.
The money-spinning T20 tournament began on 18 April in 2008 when the current Kolkata coach Brendon McCullum hit a match-winning 158* to set the league ablaze.
Come 2022 and the heat was on Kolkata after they invited the Royals to bat and Buttler, who made a match-winning 100 against the Mumbai Indians earlier this month, quickly changed gears after a cautious start in the first two overs.
Buttler put on a 97-run opening stand with Devdutt Padikkal, who hit a brisk 24, and then got going with skipper Sanju Samson, who smashed 38 off 19 balls.
The Englishman took on the bowling and hit Pat Cummins for a four to bring up his fifty and smacked the Australia pace bowler for six to reach his 100 in 59 deliveries as he raised his bat and got a hug from Shimron Hetmyer.
Buttler fell to Cummins three balls later and walked back to a standing ovation from the limited crowd at the Brabourne Stadium. His innings was laced with nine fours and five sixes.
Kolkata’s bowlers attempted to check the scoring but the left-handed Hetmyer finished with a flourish with two sixes and a four off the 20th over from Andre Russell. He made 26 off 13.
In reply, Kolkata lost Sunil Narine run out for nought off the first ball but Aaron Finch, who made 58, put on 107 runs with Shreyas who kept up the fight after his partner’s departure.
Shreyas fell lbw to Chahal and Kolkata fell short despite Umesh’s cameo in a tense finish.
© Agence France-Presse