Hardik Pandya said victory for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League final was a "legacy" moment for the rookie team.

The Titans scorched to a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals, getting home with 11 balls to spare as captain Pandya's man-of-the-match display paved the way.

He took 3-17 as the Royals were limited to 130-9, before weighing in with 34 runs as Gujarat cruised to their target and the IPL title at their home ground, the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Pandya was acquired after being released by Mumbai Indians, with whom he was four times a champion, and he said the Titans' success in their maiden season would be remembered for years to come.

"Obviously I count myself lucky. I've been in five finals, and I've won five times, so it's very exciting," Pandya said at the post-match presentation.

"This is going to be a very special one because we spoke about creating legacy and making sure that in generations to come everyone will remember this is the team that started this journey.

"To win the championship in the first year is very special."

Pandya bowled a steady line and got his rewards, before playing a reasonably patient innings, making his runs from 30 balls.

Known for his explosive batting, Pandya has reined that in at times this season and reaped the rewards, scoring an IPL career-high 487 runs across the campaign.

Pandya said of his bowling on Sunday: "For me it was all about sticking to the right length and asking the batters to play a good shot rather than me trying something and giving away a boundary."

When asked about his batting, and veering away from sky-high strike rates, Pandya said he was acting for the betterment of himself and his team.

"Any given day I'd take the trophy than me batting at 160 or 170 [strike rate]," he said. "For me, my team is the most important, whichever team I play for.

"I have always been that kind of individual. Outside noise does not bother me, and if I have to sacrifice and maybe have a worse season and my team still wins, I'll take that."

Rajasthan were looking for another Jos Buttler masterclass in Ahmedabad, but the English opener fell for 39 from 35 balls, Pandya taking the prized scalp.

Buttler finished the season as the competition's leading run-scorer, making four centuries and plundering 863 runs in all at a strike rate of 149.05 runs per 100 balls.

He achieved competition-highs in fours (83) and sixes (45), and was only sorry that the Royals fell at the final hurdle.

Buttler said: "I've exceeded all my expectations of this season apart from today, managing to take home the trophy we really wanted.

"I'm disappointed with that but want to say a big congratulations to Hardik and his team. I think they're very deserving champions.

"I think in good teams you have a lot of trust in everyone and I certainly have huge trust in everyone in our team. We all played fantastically well all season. We came up short today.

"I've lost plenty of finals in my career unfortunately, but today's been an amazing occasion and it's been a fantastic tournament."

Buttler spoke of the players' delight that crowds returned this season, having been kept away previously by the pandemic, and urged his younger colleagues "to soak it up and use the hurt from today to push you on further in the rest of your career".

"All good things must end," reasoned Hardik Pandya when he was released by Mumbai Indians last December.

Well Hardik, it seems the good times are back.

On Sunday, at their home Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Pandya captained Gujarat Titans to glory in the Indian Premier League final.

He took 3-17 with the ball and added 34 with the bat in an outstanding effort as the Titans beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with 11 balls to spare.

Pandya had struggled to stay fit and make an all-round contribution for Mumbai, whose four retentions ahead of the IPL auction were Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard.

How did that work out for them? Well, Mumbai finished bottom of the table, while Pandya picked up the trophy as skipper of newcomers Gujarat, whose maiden season could hardly have gone any better.

Mumbai's decision might – just might – have been a misjudgement.

We all make those. Just ask Yuzvendra Chahal.

What might have happened here if Chahal had clung to a glorious chance from the fourth delivery of the Titans' reply to the Royals under-par 130-9, rather than let the ball escape his flailing grasp?

Shubman Gill escaped that scare off Trent Boult's bowling and went on to carry his bat, cracking the match-winning six off Obed McCoy to finish unbeaten on 45, sharing in partnerships of 63 with Pandya and 47 with David Miller, whose rapid-fire 32 not out from 19 balls steered the Titans to the brink.

Rajasthan's total looked for all the world like a losing score, and it proved that way, but for a while the Royals had to take heart from the fact Mumbai posted 129-8 in the 2017 final and still won by one run against Rising Pune Supergiant.

Jos Buttler made a team-high 39 from 35 balls for the Royals in this game, and that took the Englishman to 863 runs for the season, the second-highest total by any batter in a single edition of the IPL after Virat Kohli's 973 runs in the 2016 season.

But the Royals were looking for more from their talisman, who removed his helmet and shielded his face as he left the field, knowing his team were looking to him to provide an onslaught late in the innings.

Who removed him? Pandya, of course, with Buttler looking to glance away a lively delivery to third man but instead feathering through to Wriddhiman Saha.

Gujarat celebrated with understandable gusto. Buttler hit four centuries in the IPL season, as many as all other players combined, carrying them this far. But he was gone after 12.1 overs, angry with himself, and nobody else stepped up in his absence.

The Titans began their chase slowly but kept wickets in hand.

A dishy delivery from leg-spinner Chahal eventually removed Pandya, edging to slip from a ball that turned extravagantly. Pandya was despondent, but the Titans skipper knew he could rely on others to complete the job.

Pandya finished the season with 487 runs, his highest total in an IPL season, but most importantly he now has a fifth title of his career in this competition, after four with Mumbai.

"For me, my team is the most important thing, whichever team I play for," he said at the end of the game.

The Titans were thanking their lucky stars that Mumbai decided Pandya was dispensable. On this, and the season's evidence, Pandya is anything but.

Gujarat Titans rounded off a glorious first Indian Premier League season by beating the Rajasthan Royals in Sunday's final to crown themselves champions.

The Royals had been hoping to enjoy a first IPL final success since 2008 but once again came unstuck against Gujarat, who produced a professional display in front of a home crowd in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat beat the Royals by 37 runs in April and by seven wickets just last week, with the latter result repeated on Sunday.

There was a sense the Royals were waiting for the in-form Jos Buttler to provide inspiration, but shortly after seeing Devdutt Padikkal (two) slice to Mohammed Shami at short third man, the England international came up short on a delivery from the excellent Hardik Pandya (3-17), going for 39.

The Royals looked in trouble at 79-4 in the 13th over and their position did not get much stronger.

With Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore (2-20) also impressing with the ball, no one else managed more than 15 runs after Buttler's dismissal, with their score of 130-9 the second-lowest first innings total ever in an IPL final.

The Titans were fortunate in the first over of their chase as Yuzvendra Chahal inexplicably dropped Shubman Gill, who went on to make the Royals pay.

While the wickets of Prasidh Krishna (five) and Matthew Wade (eight) tumbled, Gill proved to be the backbone of the Titans' tilt with an unbeaten 45, aided by Hardik (34) for a while.

Chahal made amends to a degree with a classic leg spinner's dismissal of Hardik in the 14th over, giving the Royals a glimmer of hope.

But David Miller's emphatic unbeaten 32 off just 19 balls sealed the Titans' success with 11 balls to spare.

Buttler or bust

Buttler's angry reaction to being dismissed said it all. After a brilliant season in which he plundered four centuries, it ultimately felt like his campaign ended with a bit of a whimper.

While his 39 was only bettered by Gill, the scalp of Buttler was clearly decisive given the lack of runs elsewhere for the Royals.

Catches win matches

It is impossible to say how things would have turned out if Chahal had held on to that catch on the fourth ball of the Titans' chase, but considering it let Gill – the top scorer in the match – off the hook, it is difficult to look at that moment as anything other than key.

You could have sympathy with Chahal had it been a tricky one, but it looked routine and he simply appeared to misjudge the flight, almost jumping over it.

England Test head coach Brendon McCullum cannot see any reason why Jos Buttler's destructive white-ball form could not carry over into five-day cricket.

Buttler blasted the Rajasthan Royals into their first Indian Premier League final for 14 years with a blistering unbeaten 106 off just 60 balls to secure a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.

That took the 31-year-old to four centuries in this IPL campaign – as many as every other player combined – and five hundreds in total, just one shy of Chris Gayle's record of scoring six tons in the competition in his career.

Buttler will look to deliver again when the Royals face Gujarat Titans in the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday, and his form has led to questions whether he could make a return to England's Test side.

England dropped Buttler after the wicketkeeper-batsman averaged 15.3 during the most recent Ashes thrashing by Australia. He has scored only two centuries in 100 Test innings.

But the newly appointed McCullum – who faces home nation New Zealand in his first series in charge, starting on Thursday – can envisage Buttler taking his white-ball skills into red-ball cricket.

"Jos is one of those players you look at instantly and think: how could he be so dominant in one form of the game and not quite have found his feet, other than a few fleeting performances, in Test cricket?" McCullum said.

"There's no reason why, if you're good at T20, you can't bring those skills into Test cricket.

"There's certainly guys you look at and think there's a lot of talent that could improve the side given the right opportunity. It's just a matter of trying to identify how they're going to do that."

Moeen Ali, who played for Chennai Super Kings in this year's IPL, is another name linked with a return to England's Test side, along with Liam Livingstone and Adil Rashid.

"I'm sure if Mo wanted to [play Test cricket] and was prepared to put the yards in to make it back into the side, then he'd challenge, no doubt," McCullum added.

"Livingstone, Moeen, Rashid. All these guys have played international cricket before, been successful in the other forms of the game, and you'd think they'd be able to transition across, but we'll see.

"I look at them and think there'll be a time where they may get an opportunity if they're invested enough.

"There's probably been a bit of hurt at times for those guys, too, because they've been in the team at times and then out of the team at others, and there hasn't been that persistence for them.

"I'm not sure you're going to play someone like Rashid every game, every year, anyway. He might not even be interested, so we might be talking about something we don't need to be.

"But my mentality is: if they're the best cricketers, why not have a conversation and see where you get to?

"If we're playing an attractive brand of cricket, we're successful and people are getting right behind what we're doing, then that might pique a bit of the interest of some of those guys. We'll build it first, then we'll see."

Livingstone has played 20 limited-overs internationals for England but is yet to feature for the Test side.

Questions remain over his interest in the longest format, with lucrative deals on offer in the IPL, and McCullum believes a discussion must be had with Livingstone over his commitments.

"A conversation needs to be had about what his appetite for Test cricket is. If he is keen on playing, then how does he see himself getting into the side?" McCullum said.

"Just because you're a good cricketer, it doesn't mean you automatically get selected. You've still got to earn the right to be able to do so."

Kumar Sangakkara cannot recall seeing anyone bat better than Rajasthan Royals run machine Jos Buttler in the Indian Premier League ahead of the final against Gujarat Titans.

Buttler blasted the Royals into their first final for 14 years with a scintillating unbeaten 106 off only 60 balls to secure a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2.

The England wicketkeeper-batter hit six sixes and 10 fours in a masterclass at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, taking his tally of centuries for the season to four.

Buttler is only one shy of Chris Gayle's record of scoring six IPL hundreds ahead of the final in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

The 31-year-old is the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 824 from 16 innings at an average of 58.86 and Royals director of cricket Sangakkara has never seen anything like it. 

He said: "It's hard to describe what he has done for us this season. I think he started off so well, had a little bit of a flutter at one point in the tournament, but he calmed himself down, had good conversations rather than just training.

"He accepted he's mortal, he's human and he can't have that high level of excellence every single day. And to understand how you kind of reach that level at every game in different stages.

"Some days you have to fight and look ugly, other days your rhythm is there. The reality is you can't fight that condition, but fight what's happening on the day.

"You have to settle into it and build an innings. He can accelerate at any point, has all the strokes and understands the game really well. I can't remember anyone batting this well in the history of the IPL."

Rajasthan have not reached a final since they won the inaugural IPL in 2008, when the late Shane Warne captained them to victory.

Gujarat topped the table in their first IPL season and beat the Royals by seven wickets in Qualifier 1 to move into the final.

David Miller struck a rapid 68 not out in that victory and the South Africa batter says he is reaping the rewards of the Titans putting their faith in him.

He said: "I feel like I am repeating myself. But one thing that changed this season, is that I am playing every game.

"The last four-five years in IPL… I had a bad season in 2016 and then haven't really felt backed at all. That’s the nature of the IPL. There are so many overseas players and only four can play.

"I had to go back and work on my game. Although I felt really good playing for the domestic teams in South Africa, I was looking to find that good nick. That's what happened this season."

The latest episode in Jos Buttler's outstanding 2022 IPL took Rajasthan Royals through to the final and a rematch with Gujarat Titans.

The Royals were beaten by the Titans in the first qualifier, forcing them to face Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday for a place in the season's showpiece.

Buttler ensured RCB were soundly beaten, smashing an unbeaten 106 off 60 balls to clinch a seven-wicket victory.

The Royals still had 11 balls to spare when Buttler's sixth six completed the job on 161-3.

None of the England star's team-mates had to pass 25 runs as he did all the heavy lifting in partnerships of 61 with Yashasvi Jaiswal, 52 with Sanju Samson, 35 with Devdutt Padikkal and 13 with Shimron Hetmyer in reply to RCB's 157-8.

A stunning Buttler catch had removed the dangerous Rajat Patidar (58) in the outstanding moment of the RCB innings, too, as his almost single-handed pursuit of the title continued.

Buttler blowing away the competition

This has long since been Buttler's best IPL campaign, and there remains a slim chance he also takes the tournament record. In pursuit of Virat Kohli's 973 runs in 2016, he moved on to 824 for this tournament with his fourth century. The rest of the players in this year's IPL have produced only four hundreds between them.

As well as the most runs in the 2022 IPL, Buttler leads the way for fours (78, 26 clear of second place) and sixes (45, 11 clear).

Top two tussle once again

This will be the Royals' first final since the inaugural IPL in 2008, when they took the title, but Rajasthan will have their work cut out against a Titans side who are in their debut season.

Gujarat finished two points ahead of the second-placed Royals in the points table, having won the match between the pair by 37 runs. The margin in the subsequent qualifier was seven wickets. Buttler top-scored for Rajasthan on both occasions, but their opponents have collectively shown they have the firepower to match him.

A sensational innings of 68 from David Miller took Gujarat Titans to the IPL final after they beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in Tuesday's qualifier.

This was just the second meeting between the Titans and the Royals in the Indian Premier League, with Gujarat also winning by 37 runs last month.

Jos Buttler had blasted 89 to help the Royals set a target of 189 in Kolkata, but despite an early setback, the Titans built their reply well before fireworks from Miller finished it off.

Yashasvi Jaiswal fell for just three early in the Royals' innings, but Buttler and captain Sanju Samson put on a partnership of 68 to recover, with Samson hitting 47 off just 26 balls.

Buttler was unusually cautious until putting his foot down later in the innings, particularly once Devdutt Padikkal (28) had departed, with the England international hitting two late sixes to add to his 12 fours, before being run out in the final over.

The Titans lost Wriddhiman Saha for a second ball duck off the bowling of Trent Boult (1-38), but their batting was steady from there, with Shubman Gill and Matthew Wade both adding 35 each, before Hardik Pandya and Miller came to the crease.

Pandya played a captain's innings of 40 from 27 balls, but it was Miller who claimed the highlights, especially near the end of the chase as the nerves ratcheted up.

Needing 16 off the last over, Miller only took three balls to do the job as he smashed three sixes to send the Titans to the final in style.

The Royals have now played 10 games at Eden Gardens in the IPL, losing eight. Only at their home stadium in Jaipur (15) and at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai (nine) have they lost more.

They will now have to play the winner of Wednesday's eliminator between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore to make it to the final.

Killer Miller

Although they had plenty of wickets in hand, it did look at one stage like Gujarat had given themselves a bit too much to do, until Miller stepped up.

The South African took just 38 balls to knock 68 in Kolkata, with three fours and five sixes.

Khan puts Royals in a spin

It was hardly a great day in the field for the Titans, except for Rashid Khan, who had an economy of 3.75 (15 runs), with none of the other three bowlers who bowled four overs having less than 10.75 (43 runs).

The Afghanistan spinner did not take any wickets, but if it was not for his stinginess with the ball in hand, the total would likely have been too much for even Miller's ability.

Ravichandran Ashwin blasted an unbeaten 40 as Rajasthan Royals secured a top-two finish in the Indian Premier League with a dramatic five-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings.

Moeen Ali breezed to a 19-ball half-century as the Super Kings raced to 75-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they did not capitalise on their early impetus in Mumbai on Friday.

Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2-26) and Obed McCoy (2-20) were the pick of the bowlers to peg back Chennai, with MS Dhoni (26) the only other batter to pass 20 in support of Ali (93) in the Super Kings' 150-6.

Jos Buttler fell for just two to Simarjeet Singh (1-18) in response, before Sanju Samson (15) followed to Mitchell Santner (1-15) and Ali bowled Devdutt Padikkal (3) to leave the Royals 76-3 in the 12th over.

Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal batted on as his partners fell, making 59 off 44 balls before being dismissed by Prashant Solanki, with Rajasthan requiring a further 47 to win from the last five overs.

Solanki soon added the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer (6) to his list of scalps, but Ashwin – promoted up the order – took charge of the chase to see his side over the line with two balls to spare.

Victory meant Rajasthan will have two chances in the playoffs to make the final on May 29. Lucknow Super Giants must settle for third place.

Ali efforts in vain

All eyes were on Buttler, who leads the run charts with 629 in this year's IPL, but it was England team-mate Ali who delivered a scintillating performance at the Brabourne Stadium.

The 34-year-old fell in the final over just seven short of a century after a tremendous 57-ball innings that included 13 fours and three sixes.

He then superbly posted figures of 1-21 with the ball from his four-over allocation – but his efforts ultimately proved in vain, with Ashwin's 40 from 23 proving decisive.

Chahal equals spin record

Chahal once again edged ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Wanindu Hasaranga in the battle to be the competition's top wicket-taker.

The Royals' leg-spinner picked up two wickets, while going at just 6.5 an over, and equalled Imran Tahir's tally of 26 (in 2019) for the most wickets by a spinner in a single IPL season.

Rajasthan Royals moved up to second in the Indian Premier League and are on the brink of sealing a play-off place after a 24-run defeat of Lucknow Super Giants.

Lucknow knew a win at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday would secure a top-four finish with one game to spare, but they slipped below the Royals into third spot.

Yashasvi Jaiswal top-scored with 41 in Rajasthan's total of 178-6 in Mumbai, with Ravi Bishnoi taking 2-31.

Deepak Hooda's 59 was in vain as Lucknow could only make 154-8 in reply, Trent Boult the pick of the bowlers with 2-18 as the Royals took a big stride towards the play-offs.

Avesh Khan struck a big early blow when he bowled Rajasthan's Jos Buttler in the third over, but Jaiswal and Sanju Samson (32) put on 64 for the second wicket before the captain fell to Jason Holder.

Jaiswal was caught and bowled in Ayush Badoni's only over, but Devdut Padikkal kept Rajasthan ticking with a couple of sixes and five fours.

Bishnoi (2-31) denied Padikkal the chance of a half-century, dismissing him for 39, and also removed Riyan Parag, but Boult added a quickfire unbeaten 17 after Jimmy Neesham was run out.

Neesham, playing his second match of the tournament, took a catch for his New Zealand team-mate Boult to claim the scalp of Quinton de Kock in the third over of the run chase and the left-arm seamer also trapped Badoni leg before first ball.

Lucknow were 29-3 when Prasidh Krishna (2-32) sent KL Rahul packing, but a stand of 65 between Hooda and Krunal Pandya kept them in the game.

Ravichandran Ashwin ended the partnership by sending Pandya on his way for 25, and Hooda was stumped off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal, while Obed McCoy claimed 2-35 in a big win for the Royals.

Brilliant Boult strikes twice

Boult made it advantage the Royals when he took two early wickets in as many balls, preventing De Kock from doing damage and snaring Badoni for a golden duck.

He bowled 14 dot balls in his four overs and conceded only two boundaries, leaving the Super Giants up against it.

Three play-off spots still up for grabs

Gujarat Titans are the only side guaranteed a play-off place as the battle for top-four finishes goes to the wire.

The Royals do battle with Chennai Super Kings in their last game of the league season, while Lucknow must regroup before facing Kolkata Knight Riders.

Delhi Capitals remain in Indian Premier League playoff contention after Mitchell Marsh and David Warner powered them to an eight-wicket victory against Rajasthan Royals.

The Royals had won all four of their previous IPL meetings with Delhi in Mumbai, but their opponents had no trouble in chasing down a target of 161 for a crucial victory.

That is despite losing opener KS Bharat on a duck off the second ball, with Australian duo Marsh and Warner sharing a 144-run stand to pave the way for a successful chase. 

Rishabh Pant also contributed 13 runs after Marsh (89) was caught by Kuldeep Sen in the 19th over, allowing Warner (52 not out) to score the winning runs with 11 balls to spare.

Ravichandran Ashwin had earlier hit a maiden IPL fifty, while Devdutt Padikkal chipped in with 48, but the Royals could only muster 160-6 from their 20 overs.

Chetan Sakariya starred with the ball for the Capitals with figures of 2-23, while Marsh and Anrich Nortje also took a couple of wickets each.

Oz delight for Delhi

Marsh's blistering knock of 89 was his highest in the IPL, consisting of seven sixes and five fours.

Warner also impressed with his 52 runs, meaning he has now registered 50-or-more runs on 30 occasions – eight more than next best Shikhar Dhawan.

Royals outclassed

Only against Punjab Kings (14) have the Royals won more IPL games than they have against the Capitals (13), yet they were easily second best on Wednesday.

Instead of tightening their hold on a top-four spot, they are now just two points ahead of fifth-placed Delhi and still have work to do if they are to reach the play-offs.

West Indian left-hander Shimron Hetmyer has left the Rajasthan Royals in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) to return home to Guyana for the birth of his first child.

"My stuff is still left in the room," the 25-year-old said in an interview, indicating that he will be returning to India to see out the rest of the IPL.

Royals are in third place and are looking like one of the better placed teams to make the playoffs which are set to begin on May 24.

However, the player has not made himself available for the West Indies white-ball tours of the Netherlands and Pakistan starting later this month.

Hetmyer left Mumbai on Sunday morning on the back of another high-impact cameo - 31 not out off 16 balls against Punjab Kings that helped seal a chase of 190.

 

Yashasvi Jaiswal scored a brisk 68 as Rajasthan Royals returned to winning ways in the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket victory over Punjab Kings.

The Kings slipped to three defeats in their last five games as their playoff credentials came into question, but Mayank Agarwal's side managed to post a competitive 189-5 at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.

Jonny Bairstow anchored the Punjab innings with 56 from 40 deliveries before being removed by Yuzvendra Chahal (3-28), who also picked up the wickets of Bhanuka Rajapaksa (27) and Agarwal (15).

Liam Livingstone (22) and Jitesh Sharma, who blasted 38 off just 18 balls, provided the Kings with late impetus, but their total seemed insufficient when the in-form Jos Buttler led the early response.

The England international smashed 30 off 16 but was caught off Kagiso Rabada's bowling (1-50), while Jaiswal and Sanju Samson (23) continued the charge before the latter was dismissed by Rishi Dhawan (1-25).

Jaiswal ensured the Royals were firmly in control, requiring a further 49 to win when he departed to Arshdeep Singh (2-29), who also claimed the wicket of Devdutt Padikkal (31) in the final over.

Shimron Hetmyer (31 not out) subsequently saw Rajasthan over the line with two balls to spare as Samson's side ended a two-game losing run to move level on points with second-placed Lucknow Super Giants.

Rejuvenated Jaiswal

Jaiswal mustered just 25 runs across his first three innings in the IPL this season, and was dropped after a poor run in which he produced scores of 20, one and four.

However, he made his mark on his return to the Royals XI as he produced his top score in the competition with his 68 against the Kings, which included nine fours and two sixes.

Classy Chahal returns to form

Chahal had struck just twice in four games, leading to concerns over the purple-cap holder's wicket-taking ability in the middle overs.

But the 31-year-old silenced his critics in emphatic fashion, picking up three important wickets after the powerplay, while bowling 10 dot balls as he went for just seven runs per over.

The Kolkata Knight Riders ended a run of five consecutive losses in the Indian Premier League, with Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh impressing as they chased down the Rajasthan Royals for a seven-wicket win.

The Royals set a below-par target of 152-5 after top-order batsmen Jos Buttler (22) and Devdutt Padikkal (2) struggled to make headway early on, although captain Sanju Samson's half-century dragged them into contention.

Although Kolkata's own top-order fared little better as Baba Indrajith (15) and Aaron Finch (4) succumbed to early dismissals, Rana (48) and Rinku (42) fell narrowly short of half-centuries to end the Knight Riders' dire form.

Despite Samson's haul, the Royals have now fallen to back-to-back IPL defeats, missing the chance to go second in the standings with four matches remaining. 

Having won four of their last five coming into the contest, the Royals were put in to bat after Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss, and made a nightmare start when losing Padikkal for just two runs.

Things went from bad to worse when Buttler, the IPL's leading batsman with 566 runs prior to Monday, was caught by Shivam Mavi for just 22, way down on his season average, in the ninth over.

Samson put in a talismanic captain's performance as his knock of 54 put the Royals in contention, but was caught by Rinku in the 18th over after Karun Nair (13) and Riyan Parag (19) were also sent packing.

The Knight Riders did not have it all their own way immediately when taking up the bat, losing Indrajith and Finch to Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Sen before the sixth over was through in a flat start.

However, Iyer's 34 set the tone for a vast improvement in the second half of Kolkata's innings, with Rana and Rinku's outstanding partnership leading them to what proved to be a routine win as the Royals paid the price for their errors with the bat.

Below-par Buttler sets the tone

Buttler has been key to the Royals' hopes after averaging 65.33 this season, hitting a magnificent century in a crushing win over the Delhi Capitals less than two weeks ago.

However, his dismissal at the ends of Tim Southee set the tone for a miserable outing for Buttler's side, with Southee adding the wicket of Parag in the 17th as Kolkata clinched a crucial victory.

Rana and Rinku combine in style

A five-match losing streak had left Kolkata stranded near the bottom of the IPL table, but Rana and Rinku combined for 90 in a brilliantly efficient display to drag the Knight Riders to an important win and lift them to seventh in the standings, within four points of the Royals.

Daniel Sams blasted his first ball for six in the final over to finally give Mumbai Indians a first Indian Premier League win of the season over Rajasthan Royals on Rohit Sharma's birthday.

Mumbai had lost all eight games, but finally got up and running with a five-wicket victory at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.

Run machine Jos Buttler yet again top scored with 67 off 52 balls as the second-placed Royals posted 158-6 and that was not enough to consign the Indians to another defeat.

Suryakumar Yadav (51 from 39) laid the platform for the win and with four needed from the last over, Sams stepped up to win it on captain Rohit's 35th birthday after Kieron Pollard fell to Kuldeep Sen.

Hrithik Shokeen claimed the early wicket of Devdutt Padikkal and the Royals were 54-2 in the eight over when Sanju Samson departed.

Buttler had only 28 off as many balls halfway through Rajasthan's innings and Daryl Mitchell was also unable to get into full flow before he was removed by Sams.

The powerful Buttler had not struck a six until he exploded into life in the 16th over, disdainfully dispatching Shokeen over the ropes from four successive deliveries before he was caught in the deep off the last ball of that over.

Ravichandran Ashwin added a brisk 21 before he was dismissed by the impressive Riley Meredith (2-24) and the India spinner claimed the scalp of Rohit for two in the third over of the run chase.

Yadav and Tilak Varma (35) put 81 on for the third wicket, but departed in quick succession to Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna to leave the game in the balance.

The nerves were jangling when Mitchell caught Pollard in the deep from the first ball of the last over, but Sams launched a huge six into the leg side to raise the root and Tim David was unbeaten on 20 off nine balls.

 

Normal service resumed by brilliant Buttler 

It has been an incredible IPL for Buttler, who is comfortably the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 566 at an average of 70.75 with a strike rate of 155.06.

He struggled to get going after making eight against Royal Challengers Bangalore last time out, but brutally took Shokeen part to reach another half-century from 48 balls before departing trying to hit the spinner over the rope for a fifth time in the 16th over.

Yadav a shining light

It has been a nightmare season for Mumbai – the most successful IPL franchise – but Yadav has been a shining light.

While Rohit has been unable to register a half-century in the tournament, Yadav now has three and averages 48.33, sitting sixth on the list of the highest scorers.

West Indies all-rounder Rovman Powell has urged IPL franchise Delhi Capitals to quickly move past the recent no-ball controversy as the team looks to jostle for a position in the playoffs.

In their previous encounter, a 15-run loss to Rajasthan Royals on Friday, the team was left incensed by what they believe was a missed no-ball call in the final over.  Needing an improbable 36 off the final over, Powell kept things interesting when he blasted three straight 6s off international team Obed Mccoy.

The Capitals were convinced the third six was also a waist-high no-ball and as such would have been a free hit, which would have made things even more interesting.  The delivery was, however, not called by the umpires and Mccoy fought back to dismiss Powell.  The incident led to arguments between Delhi players and the umpire, and assistant coach Rajasthan Royals Pravin Amre came onto the field.  In the aftermath, Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant, all-rounder Shardul Thakur and Amre were slapped with heavy fines resulting from the incident, with Amre also given a one-match ban.  With a match upcoming against the Kolkata Knightriders on Wednesday, Powell is looking to move past the incident.

“It’s something that we have to put behind us and put behind us very fast.  We have a lot of upcoming matches and we have no time to sit down and dwell in the past,” Powell said of the incident.

“We have some important games coming up, important games that we have to win to get to the next round of the competition,” he added.

“We are about 6th or 7th in the table that is a good place to be. It’s just for us to climb the ladder and hopefully, we’ll reach our goal, which is the top four.”

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