It was yet another double header, the fifth of this IPL and both the matches were action packed as well as perturbing. In the first of the two, RR were up against a fragmented SRH side with new skipper in form of Kane Williamson. As a shocking revelation, David Warner was axed from captaincy a day before the match and was sacked from the playing XI on match day. After Kane won the toss and sent RR to bat, Jos Buttler displayed a master-class batting to help them post 220. In reply, SRH without Warner, were never in the chase. Losing wickets at regular intervals saw them fall short by 55 runs. Hence, RR registered their third win of this season.
In the second match, there was another change in captaincy, but this was because of a dire situation. KL Rahul, the skipper of PBKS, complained of abdominal pain on Saturday night and was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and had to undergo surgery. His fellow state-mate, Mayank Agarwal was announced as the stand-in captain. The fixture between PBKS and DC was also the first reverse fixture of this season. Batting first, despite of a fantabulous skipper’s innings, PBKS were short of runs against a romping DC. With a win by seven wickets, DC are now at the top with 12 points and are inches away from sealing a spot in the top four.
Jos Buttler’s slow start
In recent time Buttler has changed his approach in IPL and it was evident in his innings today. From IPL 2017-2018, Buttler was scoring at a strike rate of 177.6 in the Powerplay overs. However, since 2019, he has scored runs at 131.2 in this phase. This season, he has been much slower (115.2). In today’s match, Buttler reached his half-century of 39 balls, his slowest ever in IPL history.
A slow start followed by a scorching finish
Buttler might have had a slow start, but once he got his eye in, he was in an annihilation mode. In the first 15 balls, Buttler had a strike rate of 80. In the next 15, he picked it up gradually and was striking at 133.3. After he had faced 30+ balls is when the nightmare started for the bowlers. In balls ranging between 31-45, Buttler struck at 213.3. But, after 45+ balls, it was a hammering. After registering a 39-ball half century, Buttler raced to his next 50 runs in 17 balls to embark his maiden T20 and IPL century of 56 balls.
Highest score by an RR batsman
In their first match of the season, RR’s newly appointed skipper Sanju Samson, registered 119 against PBKS in Mumbai, which was the highest score for an RR batsman. Today, Buttler with a 64-ball 124, he went past it to register the highest score. Interestingly, each of the last four centuries by RR batsmen, has been progressive. Ajinkya Rahane scored 105 in 2019 which became the highest. Then Ben Stokes in 2020 scored 107 to go past Rahane’s score. Samson in the first match went past Stokes with 119. Today, Buttler surpassed him to register RR’s best score.
RR register their highest first innings total
On back of a ton from Buttler and Samson’s 48, RR were able to post a 220 which is their third highest total. However, their first two highest totals came when they were chasing. Hence, making this their highest first innings total in IPL. Their previous highest came against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018 in Bengaluru.
Mayank’s marathon effort
Rahul was just not their skipper, but one of their premier batsmen. Since the 2018 IPL, KL Rahul has contributed 27% of their runs, which shows his importance. In absence of him, Mayank wasn’t a disappointment. Also, there is something about players and their captaincy debut. Samson smashed a magnificent century and became the first and only captain to a century on debut. Mayank would have become the second player if he had hit a six instead of a four in the last ball. Mayank was unbeaten on 99, the second highest score for a captain on debut. He was awarded the man of the match as well, even though it was in a vain.
Shikhar Dhawan the “shikari”
In six matches Delhi have chased, they have hunted down the target five times. One of the reasons behind their success is Shikhar Dhawan, a chase master or better a Shikari – hunter. It is not only about this season, Dhawan has been one of the most successful chasers in the IPL. In 90.5 percent of the matches, teams have won in a chase when Dhawan has registered a 50+ score. He has registered 21 scores of over 50 in a chase, out of which 19 of them have been in wins. The 19 scores of over fifty in a successful chase for Dhawan is the most for a batsman. This is a testimony of Dhawan being a match winner. In addition, he surpassed AB de Villiers (29) and registered his 30th score of over 50 in wins.