Jos Buttler smashed a record-equalling fourth century of the tournament as Rajasthan Royals hammered Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets yesterday to set up an IPL final against Gujarat Titans.
Chasing 158 for victory at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, Rajasthan reached their target with 11 balls to spare in the second qualifier as Buttler equalled Kohli’s record of four tons in an IPL season.
His 106 not out came from 60 balls and included 10 fours and six sixes.
Fast bowlers Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy took three wickets each to restrict Bangalore to 157-8 and set up victory for Rajasthan, who won the inaugural edition in 2008 under the captaincy of late Australian great Shane Warne.
The final will played tomorrow at the same venue after Gujarat, in their debut season, beat Rajasthan in the first qualifier early this week. Buttler got the Royals off to a flier with a 61-run opening stand in 31 balls with the left-handed Yashasvi Jaiswal who fell to Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood at the start of the sixth over. The in-form Englishman, who leads the tournament’s batting charts with 824 runs, reached his fifty in just 23 balls.
Wanindu Hasaranga gave RCB some cheer when the leg-spinner dismissed skipper Sanju Samson, stumped for 23. Buttler reached his hundred and punched the air in delight and then hit the winning six to extend Bangalore’s wait for a first IPL title.
Put into bat first, Bangalore lost Kohli for seven after their former captain hit New Zealand left-arm quick Trent Boult for a six in the opening over but soon fell to Krishna in the next.
Faf du Plessis put on a 70-run stand with Rajat Patidar as the pair attempted to take the attack to the opposition bowlers. Patidar, who made an unbeaten 112 in eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants, fought a lone battle after being dropped on 13.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/8 (Rajat Patidar 58, Faf du Plessis 25; Prasidh Krishna 3 for 23) lost to Rajasthan Royals 161/3 (Jos Buttler 106*, Sanju Samson 23; Josh Hazlewood 2 for 23) by 7 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)
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