This edition of the Indian Premier League has been quite a roller-coaster for Jos Buttler. The England ace, who is the batting mainstay of Rajasthan Royals, started off his campaign in style with centuries, but in the mid-way, the runs dried up and Buttler struggled to get going.
However, after a few single-digit scores, Buttler, who holds the Orange Cap, returned to form with an 89 against Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier one at Eden Gardens on Tuesday. While he initially looked jittery, Buttler took things in stride in the later half and ensured that the Royals reached 188-6, which, however, wasn’t adequate in the end.
Addressing the media after the game, Buttler admitted that it was tough to get going, but he just tried to hang in there. “What I tried to do was just to hang in there. I know I trust myself that I’ll get away at some point, it’s just today it came very late in the innings. Whereas, sometimes you’d hope it’s a bit earlier you can get away. I was determined to hang in there. It was a big game for us and, batting first, I wanted to make sure we put a good score on the board,” Buttler said.
“I think just sometimes, you’ve got to swallow your ego – if you’re finding it hard, you’re finding it hard. And just not to try and force it too much, don’t panic. I know the opposition would prefer me to panic and get out, so just try to hang in there. And try to bide my time and pick a match-up when I can get it…”
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Despite putting up a big total, Royals bowlers failed to defend and it proved to be a disappointing day in office for both the spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, who went wicketless. But Buttler stressed that the team continues to back the two. “Those two guys have been outstanding for us all season. We continue to back them. This is a tough place for bowlers. Seam bowling or spin, if you are just a tiny bit off, it’s a really small ground with a very fast outfield. So lots of boundaries are available on this particular ground,” he said. “So, it’s always going to be a little bit tough and bowling second, there was maybe a little bit of dew as well. But that’s one of the reasons we were so desperate to finish in the top-two. We are still alive in the tournament, we’ve still got a chance. We are disappointed today, we’ll dust ourselves off but we are still in the tournament,” he said.
Royals will travel to Ahmedabad and play the second qualifier on Friday against the winner of the eliminator, which will be held at Eden Gardens on Wednesday with Lucknow Super Giants taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore.