Buttler's 107* tops Narine's 109 as Royals ace record chase against KKR

Bishop: 'Buttler definitely among the great white-ball players of our generation' (2:53)

Bishop, Jaffer and McClenaghan weigh in on the Royals opener's "mind blowing" century (2:53)

Rajasthan Royals 224 for 8 (Buttler 107*, Parag 34, Narine 2-30, Varun 2-36, Rana 2-45) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 223 for 6 (Narine 109, Raghuvanshi 30, Avesh 2-35, Sen 2-46) by two wickets

Jos Buttler started slightly slow as Rajasthan Royals (RR) aimed to travel at more than 11 an over, making only 25 off his first 18 balls. He was at the crease during what seemed like a debilitating mid-innings slowdown, in which Royals scored only 30 from six overs, and lost three wickets in that time.

But although clearly still struggling with the injury that kept him out of the last RR game, and although rapidly running out of batting partners, Buttler stayed the course. He was there turning down singles in the 18th over, after Rovman Powell got out following a decent cameo. He was there to clobber two sixes and a four off the penultimate over, to get the equation down to nine off the final six balls.

And despite Varun Chakravarthy having bowled three dots in that final over, Buttler was there to heroically hit the winning run off the final ball of the match. Off the first ball of that over, he had also bashed a six down the ground that made RR the clear favourites to get over the line, and in the course of that completed his second century this IPL, to follow the 100 not out he had struck against Royal Challengers Bengaluru only ten days ago.

Buttler's feat meant that Sunil Narine's century, a staggering accomplishment in itself, was overshadowed. As were his figures of 2 for 30 off four overs.

The 17th over of the chase
After 16 overs of Royals' innings, they needed 62 runs off 24 balls, six of which were to be bowled by Narine, who had not conceded a boundary up till then.

But Rovman Powell then walloped two sixes and a four off the first three balls of the 17th over, which Narine bowled, and suddenly Royals' challenge didn't seem so sharp. Narine, however, would nail Powell lbw with the fifth ball of that over.

The last three overs
With Powell gone, and no batter he could trust to hand the strike over to, this is where Buttler really shone. He smashed a six down the ground first ball of Starc's last over, before swivel-pulling him around the corner for four later in the over. Starc did not help himself by bowling five wides soon after, either.

Then, with 28 required off 12, Buttler clobbered three sixes and a four off the next seven balls, never losing strike. With the requirement down to three off five, he bided his time. He collected two off the penultimate ball, then pierced a packed infield with a leg-side clip last ball to see RR to their sixth win this season, and arguably their most hard-earned one.

Narine had told me a decade back that he would get a hundred - Bishop

The KKR opener bashed 109 from 56 balls, an innings which included 13 fours and six sixes

The Narine show
As good as Buttler was, though, Narine was the game's MVP - he just had less support from his team-mates. Though known as a powerplay aggressor, he let Phil Salt and Angkrish Raghuvanshi take the lead early on, before blooming in the middle overs against the spinners. He smacked R Aswhin for two sixes, and Yuzvendra Chahal for three, as both those bowlerse conceded in excess of 12 an over.

It was Narine's fours, though, that truly powered his innings. He hit 13 of them, all but four of them on the off side.

Although Narine had been impressive through the middle overs, he also accelerated towards the death. He hit 35 runs off the last 14 balls he faced. Most impressively, he motored from 79 to KKR's third IPL hundred in the space of one Chahal over, in which he crashed two sixes and two fours.

Rinku Singh provided some closing fireworks to the KKR innings, but Narine's best stand had been the 85-run second-wicket partnership with Raghuvanshi, who made only 30 of those runs. Such was Narine's early dominance.

RR 2nd innings Partnerships

1st22JC ButtlerYBK Jaiswal
2nd25JC ButtlerSV Samson
3rd50JC ButtlerR Parag
4th3JC ButtlerDC Jurel
5th21R AshwinJC Buttler
6th0JC ButtlerSO Hetmyer
7th57JC ButtlerR Powell
8th8TA BoultJC Buttler
9th38JC ButtlerAvesh Khan

Indian Premier League