Opener Jos Buttler struck his third century of the ongoing IPL to power Rajasthan Royals to a 15-run win over Delhi Capitals in a drama-filled match on Friday. Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal shared a 155-run stand for the opening wicket to help RR to the highest team total of the season, 222 for two, after being sent into bat. Buttler, enjoying the form of his life, smashed 116 off 65 balls with the help of 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 off 35 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
It turned out to tall task for DC as RR restricted them to 207 for eight.
Chasing the imposing total, DC made a brisk start with Prithvi Shaw (37) and David Warner (28), adding 43 runs in 4.3 overs before the latter edged a Prasidh Krishna delivery to skipper Sanju Samson behind the stumps.
Shaw and skipper Rishabh Pant (44 off 24 balls) then added 51 runs off 29 balls for the second wicket to keep DC abreast with the asking rate.
But just when it seemed the partnership was blooming, R Ashwin struck a vital blow in the form of set Shaw, who was holed out at the deep to Trent Boult as DC reached 99 for three after 10 overs.
Pant raised DC’s hopes before being holed out to Padikkal off Krishna in the 12th over.
Axar Patel (1) also failed with the bat, so did Shardul Thakur (10) as Lalit Yadav (37 off 24) waged a lone battle before perishing.
Rovman Powell (36 off 15) struck a few lusty blows towards the end to raise DC’s hopes.
With 36 needed off the last over, Powell clobbered Obed McCoy for three consecutive sixes in the first three deliveries to raise the hopes of an improbable win for DC before the West Indian bowler got his acts together to take his side home.
But the win came after a bit of drama as the DC team argued with the onfield umpires, claiming for a possible waist-high no ball but to no avail.
Earlier, Pant’s decision to field first backfired big time as the duo of Buttler and Padikkal struck 155 runs in 15.5 overs for the opening stand.
After reaching 50 in 6.5 overs, the duo opened up. Buttler started slowly before picking up the pace and dealt mostly in fours and sixes against the DC spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel to bring up his fifty in 36 balls.
It was raining fours and sixes for both Buttler and Padikkal as both the batters played confidently to deny success to DC bowlers.
Buttler looked in ominous form and was particularly severe on Yadav, hitting the off-spinner for two sixes and one four to pick up 18 runs from the 13th over.
DC’s spin attack cut a sorry figure as Axar and Kuldeep too leaked runs with Buttler and Padikkal going hammer and tongs.
Padikkal brought up his fifty in 31 balls with a boundary, cutting Axar behind square on the off side. High on confidence after two centuries in the ongoing edition of the IPL, Buttler continued his onslaught, smacking in-form Kuldeep Yadav for two maximums in consecutive balls and a four in the 15th over.
Power-hitting was at its best display as Buttler, in particular, treated all the DC bowlers with disdain.
Padikkal soon perished, caught plumb in front of the wicket by Khaleel Ahmed in the 116th over as DC got their first breakthrough, albeit late in the innings.
Buttler finally got out in the penultimate over, holing out to David Warner at long-on off Mutafizur Rahman.
Towards the end, skipper Sanju Samson (46 not out off 19 balls) played a little cameo to help RR cross the 200-run mark and register the highest score of the season.
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