Jos Buttler's magnificent century on Monday night was beautifully complemented by Yuzvendra Chahal, who spun his web with a hat-trick as Rajasthan Royals won a high-scoring thriller against Kolkata Knight Riders by 7 runs in Pune. Buttler's 61-ball 103 had nine fours and five sixes but the way he paced his innings made the biggest impact for the Royals.
Graeme Smith was mighty impressed by Jos Buttler’s heroics and stated that he is possibly the best opener in the T20s at the moment.
“If anyone can give a run for Virat Kohli’s 900-run season, it has to be Jos,” Smith told Cricket.com in an exclusive conversation. “Not only is he providing them starts, he is batting deep as well. Two hundreds in the competition already. You know what is amazing - he is doing it without breaking a sweat. He never looks like he is hitting the ball too hard and still destroying them all over the park.
“I think it is always important to look at the impact one brings in the game, especially in the T20 format. There are middle-order guys come in and they need to dig you out of the hole, like what Shimron Hetmyer did today. But if you look at an opening batter, it is almost impossible to look beyond Jos as the best in the business. His consistency, his power and his ability make him the most dangerous in the format.”
Buttler's 61-ball 103 helped the Royals score an imposing 217 for five but KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer made a match of it in company of Aaron Finch. However, it was the 17th over when Chahal removed Venkatesh Iyer off his first delivery and then Shreyas, Shivam Mavi and Pat Cummins off the fourth, fifth and sixth balls to completely turn the match on its head. Smith certainly concurs with the idea that this was one of the best games of the season.
“We have just seen a fantastic game of cricket. It is hard to say this is the best game of the IPL so far because there are so many amazing games but I think the ebb and flow and some of the performances tonight made it an outstanding experience of celebrating 15 years of IPL.”
Smith further reserved praise for Yuzvendra Chahal, who took home the man of the match award and single-handedly turned the game in its head to inflict KKR their fourth loss of the season.
“The way KKR were going about the chase, the only thing that was going to stop them was wickets. And Yuzi Chahal has been magnificent for Rajasthan Royals, not just tonight, but throughout the entire season of the IPL. He got the key wickets at key times. The combination of him and Ashwin brought them back in the game. Who would have thought that a man would take a hat-trick and a five-fer and the game would still go down to the last over.
“Tonight’s surface was an absolute belter but spin is going to be more and more prominent as the tournament progresses. And Chahal, his skill level is good, confidence level is good. He didn’t have a great first over tonight but came back, changed his tactics. And the way he is going about things, he might end up as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament,” Smith concluded.