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27 May 2022
In a year where Rajasthan Royals lost their talismanic skipper and mentor Shane Warne, Sanju Samson & his unit paid the ultimate tribute to the legendary cricketer as they booked their place in the IPL final for the first time since 2008 with a thumping 7-wicket win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
And, it was fitting that the player who has been a central figure to their juggernaut, Jos Buttler, hit the winning runs.
After having a barren second half, Buttler (106* off 60) found form at the perfect time as he slaughtered the RCB attack to all corners of the Narendra Modi Stadium and, in the process, equalled Virat Kohli's record of most tons in an IPL season (4).
Chasing 158, RR nearly killed the game off in the powerplay as Yashasvi Jaiswal and Buttler smashed Mohammed Siraj into bits and pieces.
The RR opening pair took 31 runs off the first two overs bowled by Siraj and while Josh Hazlewood eventually dismissed the former, Rajasthan were well on course in their run-chase, with 67 runs on the board after 6 overs.
Buttler and Samson continued with the onslaught in the middle-overs to bring the equation down to run-a-ball. However, things could have been very different had Dinesh Karthik taken what was an easy caught-behind opportunity that Buttler provided off Harshal in the 11th over.
DK didn't make the same mistake in the next over as he completed an easy stumping after Samson jumped out to Hasaranga. Post the dismissal, RR managed just 12 runs in the next three overs.
But Buttler dealt a final nail in the coffin as he smashed three sixes and a four in the next three overs to not only bring up his ton but also seal the last spot for his team.
Earlier, Rajat Patidar picked off from where he had left during his record-breaking 54-ball 112* in the Eliminator the other night as the right-hander smashed a stylish 42-ball 58 to carry RCB to 157/8 in 20 overs.
The problem was that neither he got any substantial support from his fellow batters nor did he stay till the end and convert a 50 into a three-figure.
Kohli (7 off 8) rolled back the clock in the first over when he danced down the track to Trent Boult and flicked him over deep square-leg for a six.
However, he fell in the next over to Prasidh Krishna after poking at a back of a length delivery outside the off-stump for the zillionth time.
Patidar came out all guns blazing as he creamed some audacious punches and cuts and along with Faf du Plessis, took the total to 46 after 6.
Du Plessis scored 17 off 15 in the powerplay. Still, they managed only 8 off his next 12 before perishing to Obed McCoy in the 11th over after he tried to hit the seamer over the cover only to end up getting a thick edge, which Ashwin gobbled safely at short third-man.
Glenn Maxwell came out all guns blazing as he smashed two sixes and a four off Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal off his first 8 deliveries, and with Patidar looking really good at the other end, it looked like RCB were on course for a big total.
But things changed in the next over when Trent Boult bowled three consecutive dot deliveries to the Australian before eventually dismissing him via a slower bouncer.
Patidar completed his second 50+ score with a six off Chahal, who had a rare outing tonight. He smashed another one off Ashwin in the next over but holed out at long-off.
The dismissal triggered a collapse as McCoy knocked over Mahipal Lomror (8 off 10) before Krishna went bang-bang in the penultimate over to knock over Dinesh Karthik (6 off 7) and Wanindu Hasaranga on consecutive deliveries.
Krishna redeemed himself after a poor last game with a stellar performance as he gave away just 22 runs in his spell besides claiming three wickets.
McCoy, too, rounded off a memorable day at the office with a good last over where he dismissed Harshal Patel and gave away just 3 runs.
RCB lost 5/34 in the last five, crawling their way to 157/8, which, as it turned out, proved to be not good enough.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 157/8 (20)
Rajat Patidar 58 (42), Faf du Plessis 25 (27);
Prasidh Krishna 3/22 (4), Obed McCoy 3/23 (4)
Rajasthan Royals - 161/3 (18.1)
Jos Buttler 106* (60), Sanju Samson 23 (21);
Josh Hazlewood 2/23 (4), Wanindu Hasaranga 1/26 (4)
Rajasthan Royals won by 7 wickets.