Opener Jos Buttler struck his third century of the running IPL to lead Rajasthan Royals to a 15-run victory over Delhi Capitals in a drama-filled match on Friday. Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal split a 155-run lead for the opening wicket to help RR to the highest team total of the season, 222 for two, after being sent off in bat. Buttler, enjoying the shape of his life, crushed 116 of 65 balls using nine boundaries and as many hits over the fence to lay the foundation of the imposing total in the company of Padikkal, who hit 54 of 35 balls with seven fours . and two sixes.
It turned out to be a big task for DC, as RR limited them to 207 for eight.
DC chased after the imposing total, getting off to a solid start with Prithvi Shaw (37) and David Warner (28), taking 43 runs in 4.3 overs before the latter snuffed out a Prasidh Krishna delivery to skipper Sanju Samson.
Shaw and skipper Rishabh Pant (44 from 24 balls) then added 51 runs from 29 balls for the second wicket to keep DC abreast of demand rate.
But just as it looked like the partnership was blossoming, R Ashwin struck a crucial blow in the form of set Shaw, who was hollowed out in the deep end to Trent Boult as DC reached 99 for three after 10 overs.
Pant sparked DC’s hopes before being hollowed out over to Padikkal at Krishna in the 12th.
Axar Patel (1) also failed with the bat, as did Shardul Thakur (10) when Lalit Yadav (37 out of 24) fought a solitary fight before dying.
Rovman Powell (36 of 15) took some solid punches towards the end to boost DC’s hopes.
With 36 needed from last remaining, Powell defeated Obed McCoy for three straight sixes in the first three deliveries to spark hopes of an unlikely win for DC before the West Indian bowler got his act together to take his side home. .
But the win came after a bit of drama when the DC team argued with the umpires on the field, claiming that no ball could reach the waist, but to no avail.
Previously, Pant’s decision to field first backed off as the pair of Buttler and Padikkal hit 155 runs in 15.5 overs for the opening score.
After reaching 50 in 6.5 overs, the duo opened up. Buttler started slow before picking up the pace, usually splitting in fours and sixs against DC spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel to make his fifty in 36 balls.
It rained four and six for both Buttler and Padikkal as both batters played confidently to deny DC bowlers success.
Buttler looked foreboding and was particularly tough on Yadav, hitting the off-spinner two sixes and a four to pick up 18 runs from the 13th over.
DC’s spin attack cut a sad figure as Axar and Kuldeep also leaked runs with Buttler and Padikkal using hammer and pliers.
Padikkal put in his fifty in 31 balls with a boundary and cut Axar’s back square to the outside. After two centuries of confidence in the running edition of the IPL, Buttler continued his attack, hitting Kuldeep Yadav in form for two maximums in consecutive balls and a four in the 15th over.
Power hitting was at its best when Buttler, in particular, treated all DC bowlers with disdain.
Padikkal soon perished, caught perpendicular to the wicket by Khaleel Ahmed in the 116th when DC got their first break, albeit late in the innings.
Buttler eventually got out in the penultimate over, hollowing out to David Warner a long distance from Mutafizur Rahman.
Towards the end, skipper Sanju Samson (46 not out of 19 balls) played a small cameo to help RR cross the 200-run mark and achieve the highest score of the season.
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