Jos Buttler and captain Sanju Samson ensured that Rajasthan Royals continued their winning run in the Indian Premier League 2024 with a dominant six-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Saturday.

The Royals’ bowling unit showed brilliant character to pull things back after RCB raced to 125/0 in 14 overs and threatened to run away with the match. Chasing 184, Jos Buttler dazzled with a sensational 58-ball unbeaten century in his 100th IPL game to drive the Royals to victory and put them back on the top of the points table.

The knock, laden with nine fours and four maximums, also marked Buttler’s return to form after a lukewarm start to the IPL 2024 season. The Englishman, who won the Orange Cap in 2022, managed 35 runs from the three outings this season before Saturday’s match.

Rajasthan Royals assistant and fast bowling coach Shane Bond was extremely pleased with Buttler’s special knock and even revealed that the opener was unwell in the lead-up to the match.

“It was nice to see Jos, he has been a little bit sick over the last few days. So, to get out of his bed and then come out and play like that is a great effort. Nice to see him back to his best and the boys were delighted for him,” Bond said during the post-match press conference.

Following Saturday’s ton, Buttler is now level with Chris Gayle as the foreign player with the most number of centuries in the IPL. Only Virat Kohli, with eight, has more centuries in the competition.

The Royals failed to get a breakthrough against RCB up till the 14th over. It was the first time in IPL 2024 that the Royals’ bowlers went wicketless in the powerplay.

Bond, however, refused to read too much into it and noted, “It was not the best start for us, we are lucky, we got five outstanding bowlers and then when you look at the start and kept them to mid-180’s (183) and felt that we were well in the game.”

Shane Bond also acknowledged that he is pretty happy with the way the team is going and also spoke highly of the Royals’ well-rounded bowling attack.

“It is a nice combination with Nandre’s (Nandre Burger) pace and Trent’s (Trent Boult) skill and swing.

“Credit to the way Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal), in particular. (They) have been really successful and again didn’t go for many runs and dragged us back into the game though there was not a lot on offer for spinners on this wicket.

“We’ve got a really strong team. We don’t have the all-rounders as such but we’ve got five genuine bowlers and bat pretty deep with Ash at eight. Hopefully, they can keep having success over the rest of the tournament,” Bond said.

Having managed only one win in five outings at Jaipur last season, the Royals have put up a vastly improved show at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in IPL 2024. They have won all three matches played at their home venue so far this campaign.

“One of the things we talked about from last year to this year was playing better at home, we did not play well here last year. We talked a lot about how we wanted to play and get better.

“I think we have adjusted really well. We are three from three now here and that gives us a lot of confidence going into the next game, that is here,” Bond declared.

Shane Bond went on to praise Sanju’s captaincy and supported the skipper’s decision to go to Avesh Khan ahead of Boult to bowl the final over of the RCB innings. 

“Probably it was not Trent’s best day today and Avesh did a pretty good job through the middle. I think Sanju’s got a lot of faith in him, as he bowled good yorkers and bowled really well in the previous games.

“But Sanju is doing an excellent job captaining the team. His communication is excellent and I think the bowling choices he is making are spot on. Again, Avesh did another good job for us today,” mentioned Bond.

Avesh also conceded just four runs in the last over against Delhi Capitals last week to win the Royals a close match.

The former New Zealand pacer was also hoping for the return of Sandeep Sharma, who had missed the last couple of matches with a side strain but emphasised that there was no concern as the Royals’ bowling attack had the variety and depth to counter injuries.

“He (Sandeep) has got a little niggle, unlikely maybe for the next game but he is getting closer and closer.

“The lucky thing is our team has got good depth in the squad. We are getting Saini (Navdeep Saini) back shortly from NCA which is exciting for us and adds a bit more depth to our bowling stocks.

“We do miss Sandeep. He has been such a great player for us in the first couple of games but he is not too far away and we are looking forward to getting him back,” said Bond

Rajasthan Royals are up against Gujarat Titans next at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on April 10.