IPL

Buttler obliterates Warner-less Sunrisers

By Sports Desk May 02, 2021

Jos Buttler smashed a majestic century as Rajasthan Royals compounded Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian Premier League misery with a dominant 55-run victory.

The Sunrisers, bottom of the standings with six defeats from seven, made the dramatic decision to strip David Warner of their captaincy on Saturday and there was no place in their XI for the deposed Australia opener.

Buttler proceeded to provide the sort of fireworks at the top of the order that are seemingly beyond Warner at present, plundering a maiden T20 ton in style as he smashed 124 from 64 deliveries, with 11 fours and eight sixes, to account for the bulk of an imposing 220-3.

Despite the promise of first-wicket stand of 57 between Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30), Hyderabad's chase never really threatened and they limped to 165-8 – left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-20) the pick of the Rajasthan attack.

Although he had twice come close with knocks of 49 and 41, Buttler entered the match without a half-century to his name in six previous attempts this season.

The England star was not initially at his fluent best, gutsing his way to a 39-ball fifty after surviving an lbw shout from Rashid Khan on seven, the leg-spinner dismissing Buttler's opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal for 12 in similar fashion.

Supported by skipper Sanju Samson (48) in a 150-run stand for the second wicket, Buttler cut loose. The 15th over, Mohammad Nabi's sole contribution with the ball, disappeared for 21, and by the time Sandeep Sharma (1-50) forced him to drag on, Buttler had already walloped three sixes and a four from the penultimate over.

Pandey and Bairstow made light of Warner's axing, although Mustafizur bowled the former off his pads with a slower ball and the procession that followed Buttler's England colleague perishing at long-on off Rahul Tewatia (1-45) showed Hyderabad's problems are myriad.

New skipper Kane Williamson scored 20 off 21 deliveries and any lingering hope was gone when he became Kartik Tyagi's first IPL wicket.

Kedar Jadhav's run-a-ball 19 was the best any one else could muster and he was bowled to be one of three victims for Chris Morris (3-29).

Patience pays off for Buttler

It seems unusual to flag up how a batsman who flayed the opposition to all parts actually played within himself initially, but Buttler shrewdly recognised his way out of a relative slump. "I think sometimes you have to swallow your ego when you're not in perfect touch," he said when receiving the man-of-the-match award.

"You have to give yourself time and find your way. I tried to stay in and keep the belief that something will click." As the final 25 deliveries Buttler faced disappeared for 74, it was fair to say something exploded.

A new role for Rashid

Khan was into the attack early for Hyderabad, Williamson breaking from Warner's habit of using the spinner in the middle overs. The skipper was partially vindicated by the early wicket and it would have been a very different contest had Buttler not survived.

However, Khan's allocation being used by the 11th over arguably left the Sunrisers exposed to one of the most destructive batsman on the planet and lacking the means to check his charge.

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    Matthew Mott's side are on the brink of an early elimination this month, with their 20-over title defence seemingly crumbling without escaping the group stage.

    England struggled before rain washed out their opener with Scotland, who are the favourites to progress after Australia overcame Buttler's side on Saturday.

    The defending champions must beat Oman and Namibia, while needing Australia to overcome Scotland by a less-than-narrow margin to have any hopes of going through on net run-rate.

    That has brought questions over Buttler's tenure as England captain, though Root placed his backing in the 33-year-old, a former international team-mate and good friend of his.

    "Jos is one of my good friends," the England Test star said. "I think he's a brilliant captain, so I don't think there's any question.

    "I think they'll be absolutely fine, they've got a wonderful squad of players. They know exactly what they need to do.

    "When it's all laid out and they've got their backs to the wall, which they have in this situation now, is when they play their best cricket.

    "It could really bring the best out of them, so I've got no worries whatsoever.

    "If they go out and do what they all know that they're capable of doing, we'll be finding ourselves in the Super 8s and the back-end of the tournament where it really matters to play our best stuff."

    England face Oman on Thursday before meeting Namibia on Saturday, when Scotland go against Australia later in the day, boasting the advantage of knowing what result is required to progress.

    That is on the minds of Australian players, too, with bowler Josh Hazlewood weighing up the options of helping send England out of the competition.

    England coach Mott hopes the Australia quick's comments were in jest, though matters could be out of his side's hands come the weekend in the United States and West Indies.

  • Rohit relieved after India battle past USA to reach Super 8s at T20 World Cup Rohit relieved after India battle past USA to reach Super 8s at T20 World Cup

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    That stark warning left a lasting imprint on Rohit's memory as the India captain credited the battling USA showing.

    "We knew it was going to be a tough task, scoring that many," Rohit said at his post-match interview. "Credit to us for chasing it down.

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    "The boys were disciplined today, pleased that the game got close," USA captain Aaron Jones said. "We've wanted fans, talked about it for a couple of years.

    "We'll come hard against Ireland for sure."

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    After their opening match against Scotland was rained off - and defeat by Australia - Mott's England must now beat Oman and Namibia in their remaining Group B games - while significantly boosting their net run-rate - to stand any chance of advancing to the Super 8s.

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    Hazlewood acknowledged it would be in Australia's "best interest" if England were eliminated, and discussed the possibility of his side attempting to benefit the Scots' net run-rate at the defending champions' expense.

    "Having grown up in Australia and with the will to win every game, I am sure they will come to the fore," Mott told BBC Sport. "I am very much hoping it was an off-hand remark by a really good bloke who is having fun.

    "Knowing Josh, he has got a pretty dry sense of humour. I am hoping it was very much tongue in cheek."

    With their 100 per cent record intact, the reigning Cricket World Cup winners and World Test champions are full of confidence as they look to complete the sweep of global international honours.

    Adam Zampa played a starring role in the commanding victory over Namibia last time out, with an impressive 4-12 making him the first Australian to claim 100 T20I wickets.

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    "If you look at his career, especially over the last five years, he's probably our most important player," Marsh said.

    "He loves the big moment, loves the pressure, and that comes with experience. He's bowling beautifully at the moment, so we're lucky to have him."

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