IPL 2018: Archer, Buttler star in Royals’ big winMay 14, 2018
There are electrifying moments that surpass routine action in an IPL match.
Barbadian Jofra Archer, bought at a whopping ₹7.2 crore, contributed in a big way to the first two game-changing events of the crucial match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at a filled-up Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Archer directed two short balls at MI’s top two batsmen — Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma — and had them caught remarkably well by Jaydev Unadkat at long-leg.
After Archer’s heroics, Jos Buttler (94 not out, 53b, 9×4, 5×6) got into the thick of action and delivered a fine victory that has kept his team in the fray for the playoffs.
It was a typically assertive and innovative knock from the Royals stumper who has taken his tally to over 500 runs.
Promoted as an opener, a position he has revelled in in the shortest format of the game, Buttler’s second unconquered 90-plus effort — he had made a match-winning unbeaten 95 against CSK in the previous game — reflected his complete domination against the bowlers, especially leg-spinner Mayank Markande.
His 91-run partnership with skipper Ajinkya Rahane for the second wicket provided the much-needed stability after which he played shots at will and finished the match with a six.
After inviting the home team to bat, Royals brought on the gangling Archer in the third over of the PowerPlay after offie K. Gowtham and seamer Dhawal Kulkarni had conceded 20 runs.
Archer made life miserable for Evin Lewis, a man with the reputation of being a big-hitter. MI was far from spectacular as Suryakumar, too, found the going tough.
But, at 87 for no loss at the halfway mark, the home team was looking to post around 200 on the board.
The opening pair had been circumspect with Lewis bringing up the first two sixes of the MI innings in the ninth over sent down by leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal.
The Archer show
Then came the Archer show. He had come into his seventh match with a tally of 11 wickets at 17.82 and with an economy rate ranging between 5.50 (against MI at Jaipur) and 11.73 (against KXIP at Indore).
He showed his class, tormenting MI in every over he sent down. Sanju Samson also thrilled the crowd pulling off three catches in the deep.
Ben Stokes played his part with the ball, but the first half of the match under the lights belonged to the brilliant Archer who ended with an analysis of two for 16 from four overs.
It could have been three scalps had Stuart Binny, running back from mid-on, managed to hold on to a stiff chance offered by Lewis, then on five, in the third over of the innings.