Jos Buttler threatened to hit six sixes in an over but managed four on the bounce in his 52-ball-67 as Rajasthan Royals were restricted to 158 for six by Mumbai Indians in an IPL match here on Saturday.
Buttler wasn’t in his element for the better part of the innings before launching into rookie off-spinner Hrithik Shokeen, hitting him for four consecutive sixes between the long-on to long-off arc.
He holed out in the deep in the final ball of the 16th over as MI prevented the England marauder to cause more damage at the death.
Shokeen, who had bowled flat and tight in the previous games, looked like a lamb for slaughter conceding 47 in 3 overs which included half a dozen of sixes, forcing him to come round the wicket but that was of little benefit.
In nine games so far, Buttler has already amassed 566 runs at an average which is northwards of 70 and a strike-rate of 155 plus.
But on the day, MI attack performed way better than they have in the initial games with new inductee Kumar Kartikeya being extremely impressive in his first outing on the big stage.
The best bowler on the day for MI was Aussie pacer Riley Meredith, who had best figures of 2 for 24 in stipulated quota of four overs, cleverly mixing variety of slower deliveries during couple of spells. He gave only three runs in the 20th over.
Debutant Kartikeya (4-0-19-1) had nine dot balls, the prize wicket of rival skipper Sanju Samson, who had by then hit a couple of sixes off Shokeen and more importantly in 24 deliveries conceded just a single boundary which spoke volumes about his temperament.
Save Buttler, who played the role of an anchor for the three-fourth of the innings, none of the other Royals batters looked like cashing in and more importantly Samson, who is basically frittering one chance after other when it comes to national comeback.
It was veteran Ravichandran Ashwin, who used the long-handle to good effect towards the end of the innings with some meaty hits that got him to 21 off 9 balls, which could prove to be priceless in the final context of the match
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (w/c), Daryl Mitchell, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Sen
Mumbai Indians: Ishan Kishan (w), Rohit Sharma (c), Tim David, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Kieron Pollard, Hrithik Shokeen, Daniel Sams, Jasprit Bumrah, Kumar Kartikeya, Riley Meredith.