Buttler's unbeaten century helps Rajasthan beat Kolkata off final ball

KOLKATA: Jos Buttler's unbeaten century helped Rajasthan Royals chase down 224 and snatch a breathtaking two-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.

The Englishman hit 107 not out off 60 balls and carried Rajasthan to 224-8 off the final ball.

Buttler had earlier watched from the dugout as Sunil Narine (109) smashed his maiden T20 century in Kolkata's strong total of 223-6 after Rajasthan won the toss and elected to field.

Buttler, brought in as impact substitute, kept Rajasthan in the hunt despite wickets falling around him as he took the game deep before counterattacking in the last five overs.

Spinners Narine (2-30) and Varun Chakravarthy (2-36) strangled Rajasthan in the middle overs as it slumped to 121-6 in the 13th over. But Rovman Powell hit a brisk 26 off 13 balls before he fell leg before wicket in the 17th over in Narine’s last over before Buttler singlehandedly took the game away from Kolkata.

Needing 46 off the last three overs, Kolkata’s multi-million dollar signing Mitchell Starc (0-50) conceded 18 runs as the left-arm Australian was scrappy and even gave away five extra runs when wicketkeeper Phil Salt couldn’t gather the ball cleanly down the leg side.

Buttler smashed six sixes and nine boundaries and raised his century in the final over when he hit Chakravarthy for a six over long-on off the first ball before closing out the game by scrambling for two runs off the fifth ball and then drove the spinner on the on-side for the winning run off the final ball.

Earlier, Narine decimated tournament’s two best spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin (0-49) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1-54) — with his powerful hitting as the left-hander clubbed 13 boundaries and six sixes.

Fast bowler Avesh Khan had plucked a brilliant one-handed return catch to dismiss Salt (10) after Riyan Parag had dropped a regulation catch at point off Trent Boult’s second ball of the match.

Narine took his time to settle down, but took charge once he completed his half-century off 29 balls. He hammered Chahal for two straight sixes and two fours in an over to complete his century off 49 balls before Boult (1-31) knocked back his leg stump with a perfect yorker in the 18th over.

Angkrish Raghuvanshi (30) was the next best batter for Kolkata and provided momentum by sharing an 85-run second-wicket stand with Narine before he sliced a catch to third man.

Rajasthan is atop the table with 12 points from six wins and one loss. Kolkata still holds the second spot on superior net run-rate over Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad as all three teams are locked on eight points.

( Source : AP )
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