Jos Buttler roared back to form with a masterful century that overshadowed Virat Kohli’s record-extending 113 as Rajasthan Royals defeated Royal Challengers Bengaluru by six wickets for a fourth win in as many matches in the IPL on Saturday. Royals now have four wins out of four and sit on top of 10 team table while RCB slipped to eighth spot with fourth defeat and three on trot. While Kohli enhanced his status as RCB’s lone ranger by notching up his eighth IPL century but RCB could only manage a below-par 183/3 after the home side opted to bowl.

Then, the England white-ball skipper in his 100th IPL appearance chose to ruin Kohli’s evening by playing a knock that was way better compared to former India skipper’s effort both in intent and quality.

Buttler, who ended IPL 2023 with three successive ducks and scored a highest of 13 in his last three innings, anchored the chase with five balls to spare.

Buttler finished the chase with a six off Cameron Green over deep square leg in the last over that also notched up his sixth IPL century.

His effort came off just 58 balls, laced with nine fours and four sixes.

Skipper Sanju Samson gave a fine support to Buttler in a record 148-run partnership — the highest of the season — that virtually killed the contest.

Samson ended up with 69 runs from 42 balls with eight fours and two sixes. Rajasthan Royals now are on the top of the table with eight points, ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders on net run-rate.

On a day, Rajasthan Royals spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal (2/34) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0/28) turned it around for the home side, by choking RCB in the middle overs, RCB bowling looked woefully short.

The likes of Mayank Dagar and Himanshu Sharma failed to make any dent to the Royals’ chase.

As it turned out, Chahal, who was released by RCB before the IPL 2022 auction, came to prove the difference against his former side.

Following a watchful start, Buttler made his intention clear in the last over of the power play when he picked rookie left-arm spinner Dagar to unleash his fury.

He punched him firmly for a boundary with his silken timing, and then smashed him for four, six and another four in a 20-run over.

From being 10 from 10 balls at the start, Buttler raced to his fifty from just 30 balls — which was nine balls lesser than what Kohli took for his milestone.

For Buttler the 20th IPL fifty came after a long wait of eight innings.

The Englishman read the length well, dished out his silken cover drives, and lofted over the bowlers’ head by playing late to boss the RCB bowling that looked ordinary.

Samson also stepped it up in Dagar’s second over, the 11th of the innings, spanking him for two fours and one six with an inside out loft shot to notch his second fifty this season.

The fifty came in just 33 balls for the Royals skipper as the duo bossed the chase in their century-plus partnership.

Siraj finally gave the much-needed breakthrough dismissing Sanju in the 15th over but by then the chase was just a formality, reducing the equation to 32 needed from last five overs.

Earlier, Kohli smashed 12 fours and four sixes and barring the assistance received from his skipper Faf Du Plessis (44 from 33 balls; 2×4, 2×6), he did not get any support from the other batters.

After reaching his fifty in 39 balls, Kohli stepped up well and took just 28 balls for his next fifty as he reached the milestone with a single off Nandre Burger in the penultimate over.

Glenn Maxwell (1) and debutant left-hander Saurav Chauhan (9), who failed to replicate his Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 form, fell cheaply.

Credit should go to RR spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin (0/28) and Chahal (2/34) who stifled the proceedings in the middle overs.

Chahal was exceptional as he cleverly deceived the batters with his pace and variations by bowling googlies and sliders to fox the RCB batters. While Kohli did score a hundred, he could never really dominate the bowling and in the end the hundred mattered very little.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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