Hyderabad: Rajasthan Royals, for the first time after a long period, recorded a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings to jump to fifth place in the Indian Premier League and stay in contention for a playoffs berth.
After a good bowling performance saw Rajasthan Royals restrict Chennai Super Kings to a modest 125/5, Jos Buttler played a match-winning knock of unbeaten 70 to bail out Royals from initial troubles when they were at 28/3 in the fifth over. He, along with captain Steve Smith, forged an unbeaten 98-run partnership to see his team through. Smith heaped praises on the English batsman hailing him as a match winner.
“It’s been a while since we won a match comfortably. We lost a few matches from winning positions. We don’t win games with a decent margin. So this win is very delightful. He (Buttler) is second to none in finishing the games at the back end. We are lucky to have him. He has got so much versatility in his batting. He is an unbelievable player at the top. He has the ability to do things that AB de Villiers, (Kieron) Pollards and Hardik Pandya do. Those players win you games at the back-end. So it was tough to have the talk about him batting in the middle. He provides stability and balance to the team,” said Smith after the victory.
Speaking about their partnership, he revealed, “The wicket was not ideal. I was trying to form a partnership. Jos can score at a good rate. We were chasing just 125 so we thought we need not take any risk. So we took our time in the middle to form a partnership. Jos came out with a positive mindset. Once he was set, he took on the bowlers and made the job easy for me. I was thinking only of rotating strike and let him bat.”
He also backed under-fire Sanju Samson saying that he was a talented player. “That’s T20 cricket. It’s pretty unlucky that he got strangled down the leg side. Message is to keep the faith, trust his ability. Hopefully he will come off nicely in the next games,” Smith said.
He also had a word of praise for his bowlers who did well to restrict the opposition for a small total. “They (Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia) just squeezed them. They were magnificent. They made them work for every run on a wicket that was stopping a bit.”
Meanwhile, CSK coach Stephen Fleming said their goal from here on would be to hang in there and do their best. “We were slow to start with. They bowled well. We tried to hang in there but the total was never enough. We tried to be positive and create pressure on the opposition. But we kept losing wickets and struggled to get momentum in our batting” he said.
Speaking about their plans going ahead, he said, “It is pretty down to be honest. Today we were thoroughly outplayed. We knew it was a crucial game but we didn’t do well. We are going to go back to the drawing board and see what we can improve.”
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