JAIPUR, India: Jos Buttler smashed his third successive half-century in the Indian Premier League, overshadowing Lokesh Rahul’s unbeaten 95, as Rajasthan Royals defeated Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs on Tuesday.
Opener Buttler hit 82 off 58 balls in Rajasthan’s 158-8 after captain Ajinkya Rahane had won the toss and elected to bat.
Rahul, who anchored Punjab to victory against the same opponents with an unbeaten 84 on Sunday, didn’t get much support as his team was then restricted to 143-7.
“Really happy with the way we played. I thought 160 was good but the wicket was difficult,” Rahane said. “I was confused at the toss but I thought setting a score was important because it was do-or-die.”
With all eight teams having played 10 matches, Rajasthan moved up to sixth on eight points after winning for the fourth time. Punjab is third on 12 points.
Buttler gave Rajasthan a whirlwind start, with 63 runs coming in the first six overs, before Punjab hit back through Andrew Tye (4-34) and Afghanistan’s 17-year-old spinner Mujeebur Rahman (2-21).
Mujeebur dismissed Buttler, who was stumped by Rahul, and Sanju Samson (22).
Tye then struck three times in the last over to remove Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat.
Punjab, in reply, lost wickets at regular intervals as only opener Rahul and Marcus Stoinis (11) reached double figures.
Chris Gayle was smartly stumped by Buttler down the leg side for one and Ravichandran Ashwin was bowled after the Punjab skipper promoted himself to No. 3.
With 48 required off 12 balls, Rahul struck three consecutive boundaries off the penultimate over from Archer.
Rahul then hit Unadkat for a six and two fours in the last over but his late run blitz proved in vain.