Jos Buttler misses out on record sixth straight T20 fifty as Rajasthan beaten by Kolkata in IPL.
The 27-year-old opener was looking to make history having passed the mark against Kings XI Punjab twice, Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians to match Virender Sehwag’s five fifties in a row for Delhi in 2012.
Buttler (39 off 22) – on the day he was recalled to England’s Test squad – clubbed each of Shivam Mavi’s deliveries in the third over for either four or six amid a run of 10 boundaries in a row for the Royals as they raced to 63-0 in the fifth over, with Rahul Tripathi contributing 27 from 15 balls.
But the England man was then caught on the reverse-sweep off Kuldeep Yadav (4-20) as the visitors lost 10 wickets for 79 runs to slip to 142 all out in 19 overs – Jaydev Unadkat (26) the only player bar the openers to make an impact as Kuldeep bamboozled the batsmen, including Ben Stokes (11).
Stokes (3-15) picked up three wickets in the Kolkata innings during an excellent four-over spell, making Sunil Narine his first victim after the Trinidadian (21 off 6) had blazed all of his runs off Krishnappa Gowtham in the first over – Narine even launching a six over midwicket first ball.
Stokes’ third scalp was that of Kolkata top scorer Chris Lynn, who hit a patient 45 from 42 balls, but that dismissal came with only 26 runs required and too late for Rajasthan – KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (41no off 31) hammering Jofra Archer for six to seal victory in 18 overs.
Kolkata have tightened their grip on third place in the table with Rajasthan two points back in fourth – the Royals could make the play-offs with a win over RCB in their final group game but will be without Stokes and Buttler, who will return to England ahead of the first Test against Pakistan.
Rajasthan, hunting a fourth win on the reel, looked set for an imposing total on Tuesday evening as Buttler and Tripathi teed off – Tripathi, spilled at slip from the first ball of the match by Nitish Rana, striking four boundaries in succession off Prasidh Krishna before Buttler punished Mavi.
But Kuldeep caused a huge collapse, with his wickets of Buttler and Stokes added to bowling opposition skipper Ajinkya Rahane (11) and having Stuart Binny (1) stumped as he moved onto 13 scalps for the tournament.
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