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IPL 2022: Buttler's ton, Samson and Hetmyer cameos take Royals to 217/5 against KKR (Ld)

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Mumbai, April 18 (IANS) Englishman Jos Buttler (103) struck his second century of IPL 2022 while skipper Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer blasted vital cameos to help Rajasthan Royals post a massive 217/5 in 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday.

Buttler, opening the innings, blasted nine boundaries and five sixes in his 61-ball 103 while Samson blazed to a 19-ball 38 and Hetmyer struck sixes off successive balls in the last over off Andre Russell as Rajasthan Royals posted a challenging total on a wicket on which chasing is expected to be easy because of the dew.

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Asked to bat first by Knight Riders skipper Shreyas Iyer, Buttler shared vital partnerships of 97, for the opening wicket with Devdutt Padikkal, and 67 for the second with skipper Sanju Samson, who played a superb cameo of 38 off 19 balls, to put Rajasthan Royals on course for a big total.

This was Buttler’s second century in this IPL after he scored a 68-ball 100 against Mumbai Indians on April 2. He joined an elite list of batsmen that includes the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Shane Watson and Shikhar Dhawan to score two centuries in an IPL edition. Virat Kohli holds the record of scoring four centuries in the 2010 edition of the tournament.

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Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal gave the Royals a rollicking start of 97 runs in quick time as they went about their business with purpose. Buttler was in his element as he 16 runs in the third over bowled by Umesh Yadav, hitting a four lofted over mid-on and a gigantic six over wide long-on.

Buttler kept the scoreboard rocking with superb hitting, taking 15 runs off Varun Chakaravarthy’s first over and went on to complete his half-century in 29 balls, hitting five fours and three sixes.

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Padikkal (24), who played the perfect foil to his partner, was the first to get out, bowled by Sunil Narine as he went into the shot early and missed it completely.

Skipper Sanju Samson took over the task of scoring quick runs as he added 67 runs for the second wicket with Buttler. Samson was the aggressor in the partnership as Buttler took the back seat, allowing his skipper to free his hands.

Samson struck three fours and two sixes during his brief stay as he helped the Royals maintain a good scoring rate. The 27-year-old batter from Kerala was out trying to hit a slower one by Andre Russell, the skier pouched by Shivam Mavi at deep midwicket. But he had already done his job, scoring at a strike rate of nearly 200, helping Rajasthan cross 150 in the 15th over.

Buttler soon completed his century with a six of Pat Cummins but was out soon. But Cummins had the last laugh as he sent him packing with a well-directed bouncer that Buttler tried to hit out but managed to find Varun Chakravarthy at the fine-leg fence.

Riyan Parag, another big hitter in the Royals’ ranks, fell to a smart bit of work by Cummins, who caught the ball near the long-off boundary but lobbed it to Shivam Mavi as he stumbled over the rope.

In the end it was left for Hetmyer to take Rajasthan Royals past the 210-run mark. He blasted fellow West Indian Andre Russell for 18 runs in the last over, hitting sixes off successive deliveries. Though Russell came back well to bowl two dot balls, Hetmyer struck him for a boundary on the last delivery of the 20th over to help Rajasthan Royals set Kolkata Knight Riders a mountain to climb.

Sunil Narine was the only bowler to make some impression on the batters as he finished his four overs with 2/21 while Australia Test captain Cummins was hammered for 1/50 off four overs.

Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 217/5 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 103, Sanju Samson 38; Shimron Hetmyer 26 not out; Sunil Narine 2/21) against Kolkata Knight Riders.

–IANS

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