After Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy restricted RCB to 157 for 8, Jos Buttler unleashed a stunning unbeaten 106 off 60 balls to propel Rajasthan Royals to their first IPL final since 2008. Buttler now has five IPL hundreds – four in one single season – one more than Virat Kohli and one less than Chris Gayle.
Kohli began confidently with a magnificent flick for a six off Trent Boult in the first over, but Prasidh generated more bounce than he expected and had him fishing outside off and nicking to Sanju Samson for 7 runs in the second.
Prasidh tried to take advantage of the decent bounce on offer, bowling three overs during the PowerPlay, but couldn’t create any more inroads. In six overs, he only gave up 14 runs as Faf du Plessis and Rajat Patidar pulled RCB to 46 for 1 in 6 overs.
As Du Plessis tried to find a second gear, RCB’s Eliminator protagonist seized centre stage once more. Meanwhile, the stylish right-hander went after Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle overs, and once Du Plessis left, he teamed with Glenn Maxwell to increase the scoring rate.
RR’s spin combination took 26 off two overs, but a stunning effort from McCoy at fine leg – racing forward and diving to grab a catch – ended Maxwell’s stay at 24 off 13. Patidar reached fifty with a six over long-off against Chahal, despite not being half as fluent as two nights before.
Patidar smacked one off Ashwin in the next over, but his stay was cut short by another excellent fielding effort. He went looking for another six and didn’t quite connect, but it appeared to be heading in the right direction.
Buttler, at long-off, collected the ball with his foot just inches from the boundary line. He kept his balance nicely, threw the ball up just to get a little more steady, and sent Patidar away for a 42-ball 58.
Sometimes it just takes two days to complete a full redemption arc. Prasidh, who gave up 16 runs in the final over of the first qualifier to send Gujarat Titans to the final, dented RCB at the death. He’s gone through a period when he’s been lacklustre, but not tonight.
On May 27, he bowled a blazing yorker to knock off RCB finisher Dinesh Karthik, who holed out to long-on, and then bowled a sizzling yorker to knock out Wanindu Hasaranga’s stumps on the following delivery, surprising the RCB dugout.
Prasidh finished with 3 for 22 – the joint second-best stats in T20 cricket. McCoy matched him over and over again, finishing with 3 for 23 – including the penultimate one where he gave only three runs, leaving RCB with a disappointing total of 157 for 8.
Yashasvi Jaiswal demonstrated his seriousness in the opening over, sending a length ball from Mohammed Siraj‘s over sailing over fine leg. That was the 30th six conceded by the RCB pacer this season, the most by a bowler in a single season. Siraj’s woes continued as he gave up 16 in his first over and 15 in his next.
Buttler’s soaring start set up the second. By the end of the third over, the RR opener had scored 20 runs, bringing his season total to 738, the third most by a batter in a single season after Virat Kohli and David Warner (973 and 848 in IPL 2016).
Buttler pummelled away Du Plessis’ left-arm bowler Shahbaz Ahmed as shoulders began falling on the field. RR stormed to 61 for 0 in 5 overs. RR’s surge was constant even in the middle overs, as Josh Hazlewood removed Jaiswal in the final over of the PowerPlay.
Du Plessis hoped for a better outcome with Shahbaz in the middle-overs, but his hopes were dashed. Both Samson and Buttler hit fours and a six as the spinner gave up 35 runs in two overs. At the midway point, RR was sailing along with a score of 103 for 1.
Du Plessis sent in Harshal Patel for the 11th over, and he got Buttler to sneak one behind on the first ball. However, Dinesh Karthik missed a sitter. Samson then added to the agony with a massive six, capping off his 50-run stand.
Hasaranga was able to get away of Samson, but it was a little too late for RCB. Buttler’s fourth century of the IPL 2022 – the joint-most by a batsman in a single season [with Kohli in 2016] – came in the 16th over, when he smacked two sixes of Hasaranga.
Buttler completed the chase on the first ball of the 19th over, wacking Harshal Patel for a six. He completed with an unbelievable innings that included ten fours and six sixes.