BENGALURU: Thirty seven matches have been played in the Indian Premier League 2022, before Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings’ match on Monday. So far, the tournament has witnessed five centuries with only Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler and Lucknow Super Giants’ KL Rahul managing to reach the triple-figure mark.
1) Jos Buttler (100 off 68 balls, RR vs MI):
Rajasthan’s Jos Buttler, in a way, set the template for what has become one of the talking points of the season – the Mumbai Indians’ struggle.
The Englishman cracked the first century on the 9th match of the season with a cracking 68-ball 100. He looked in imperious touch right from the word go and blasted MI bowlers with disdain.
He started off by flicking Jasprit Bumrah for four to the fine leg and in the next over pulled the left-arm pacer Daniel Sams for a six. In the fourth over of the innings, he thumped Basil Thampi for 26 runs which included three sixes – over long-on and mid-wicket – and two boundaries. He notched up his fifty (in 32 balls) through a late-cut to the third man.
Buttler’s shot selection was amazingly felicitous as he played an inside-out shot against leggie M Ashwin and then reverse swept him for a four. He exhibited a wide range of shots – from late cuts, reverse sweeps, pulls and drives – during his innings and reached his hundred in just 66 balls.
2) KL Rahul (103* off 60 balls, LSG vs MI):
After Buttler, it was time for LSG skipper KL Rahul to step up and pile misery on a struggling MI as he reeled off a spectacular hundred against the five-time champions to drive his team to an 18-run victory.
Batting with self-assured aplomb, Rahul made MI pay whenever they erred. He pulled, cut and drove with authority and displayed a wide range of shots. In the 15th over, he swatted left-arm spinner Fabian Allen for two huge sixes and a four. He snapped up his hundred by crunching Tymal Mills for a four through Point in the 19th over and remained unbeaten till the end.
3) Jos Buttler (103 off 61 balls, RR vs KKR):
Buttler was at it again as he cracked perhaps the most fluent and dominant hundred of the season to cream Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers with astonishing ease.
The Englishman started off by driving pacer Umesh Yadav for a boundary in the 3rd over and launched him into the stands for a six over deep mid-wicket on the next ball. In the following over, ‘mystery’ spinner Varun Chakravarthy bore the brunt as he was smote for a straight six off the back-foot.
In the 7th over, the right-hander whipped out a gorgeous straight drive off Pat Cummins to bring up his fifty in just 29 balls. Buttler continued to punish the bowlers with amazing zeal and reached his second hundred of the season by tonking the Australian Test skipper over the long-on for a six in the 17th over. He took only 59 balls to rack up the ton.
4) Jos Buttler (116 off 65 balls, RR vs Delhi Capitals):
Buttler became only the second batsman after Virat Kohli to slam three tons in one IPL season by scoring 103 against DC. In 2016, Kohli had hammered four hundreds in a season.
Buttler got off to a streaky start as an outside edge from his bat flew above the slips in the very first over bowled by left-arm medium-pacer Khaleel Ahmed. But he got in the groove by the 6th over as he clouted Khaleel for two sixes over deep mid-wicket. Buttler smote the biggest six of his innings in the 10th over off Shardul Thakur. He reached his half-century by unfurling a cracking drive off Lalit Yadav in the 11th over.
Buttler looked remarkably unruffled throughout the innings as he clubbed chinaman Kuldeep Yadav for two more sixes in the 15th over. In the next over, he reached his hundred by turning a ball from Ahmed to mid-wicket.
5) KL Rahul (103* off 62 balls, LSG vs MI):
KL Rahul singed MI once again as he thumped his second hundred of the season which propelled his team to a 36-run win.
Rahul began his innings by unfurling a four down the ground off the off-spinner Hrithik Shokeen.
In the 3rd over, he flicked the left-arm medium-pacer Daniel Sams for a four and followed it up with a stinging cut for another boundary. In the 9th over, he pulled Jaydev Unadkat over deep mid-wicket to get his first six. Till this point, he had built the innings with prudence.
However, in the 10th over he broke the shackles by smacking two fours off Riley Meredith and brought up his fifty in the 11th over off 37 balls. Sams continued to be at the receiving end of Rahul’s assault as he was clobbered for two sixes in the 14th over. He didn’t even spare Bumrah, MI’s bowling spearhead, and carved him for two fours in the 17th over by slicing him over point and driving him through extra-cover. He racked up his hundred in the 19th over by unleashing a six off Meredith over deep mid-wicket as Mumbai made 168-6 in 20 overs.