Excitement. Drama. Tension. Big hits, bigger wickets and a nail-biting finish - this contest had all the makings of a classic T20 match - one that ensured the Royals came out triumphant!

Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals - 193/8 (20 overs) beat Mumbai Indians - 170/8 (20 overs) by 23 runs.

Entertainment promised. Entertainment delivered!

Jos Buttler smashed the first century of IPL 2022 to make it a Super Saturday for the Royals, who marched on to their second consecutive win, beating Mumbai Indians by 23 runs at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Put in to bat first, the Royals got off to a decent start in the Powerplay, raking in 48 runs in 6 overs. Despite losing the first two wickets early, a fired-up Buttler continued to exploit the excellent batting conditions on offer. His swashbuckling knock was complemented by some clean hitting from the other end, with captain Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer playing swift cameos down the order. 

Once again, our solid outing with the bat was followed by an all-round performance from the bowling unit. The pacers made early inroads, pegging Mumbai on the back foot at the start of the innings. Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna took the top order out with one wicket each, while Navdeep Saini - making his debut in Pink - bagged two wickets in his 3-over spell.

But when the batters started attacking as the chase went on, it was the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal that came back to turn the game on its head. Ashwin struck first, cleaning up the dangerous-looking Tilak Varma. Chahal then handed back-to-back blows in the next over, stalling the chase towards the end in spite of Kieron Pollard’s revival efforts.

Here are the key moments from the match:

Just Jos Things

He came. He saw. He conquered. And how! When Jos Buttler bats the way he does, there isn\"t much one can do, except be a mere spectator. And that\"s exactly what the Mumbai bowlers were reduced to, when they felt the heat coming off his bat. The opener was simply unstoppable from the get-go, putting up one of the finest exhibitions of T20 cricket as the crowds cheered him on. His 68-ball 100 included 11 fours and 5 sixes, featuring a mega 4th over - where he took 26 runs off Basil Thampi - the first of Mumbai\"s two expensive overs. He then went after spinner Murugan Ashwin, scoring 21 runs in the 11th over. By the time he fell in the 19th over, the Royals were well on their way to a huge total. 

Shimron Hetmyer - The Finisher

Continuing from where he left off in the last match, Shimron Hetmyer struck yet another important cameo of 35 runs in just 14 balls, clobbering the bowlers for 3 fours and 3 sixes. The power-hitter squeezed 26 runs off Kieron Pollard in the 17th over, completely swinging the momentum away from Mumbai. If his last two innings are any indication, Hetmyer seems to be shaping up nicely in his role as the finisher at the Royals.

A hat-trick for Yuzvendra Chahal... almost!

Chahal\"s first spell was a quiet one in terms of wickets, but it was his second coming that delivered the final blow to Mumbai. Bowling the 16th over, he trapped Tim David on the very first ball with a classic leg-break delivery, which turned enough to keep the batter pinned on the crease. David went for the review but in the end, it was the umpire\"s call that favoured the bowler.

Daniel Sams was the next batter in, and Chahal delivered a tempting floater to him. The trick worked as the Aussie instantly fell for it and went for a huge hoick, only to walk back for a golden duck. His mishit stayed in the air for a long time, before it was caught by a diving Buttler in the deep mid-wicket area. 

Chahal’s next delivery drew a thick edge off Murugan Ashwin’s bat, creating a sharp chance for Karun Nair at first slip. But the ball flew to his left, making it difficult for the fielder to hold onto it. It if wasn’t for the unfortunate drop, Chahal would’ve become the first bowler to take a hat-trick in IPL 2022. Nonetheless, it was another impressive spell from the leg-spinner, who finished with figures of 2/26 in his 4 overs. With 5 wickets in 2 games, Chahal is currently the second-highest wicket-taker of the season. 

Two games. Two instances of batting first and going on to win the match. The Royals seem to have been bucking the trend of ‘teams that bowl first, win the match’ in the season so far. With two wins and a Net Run Rate of 2.100, we are currently placed on top of the points table. With strong performances like these and winning momentum on our side, we now move on to our next stop - the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai - to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday, 05 April. 

What did you think of our performance? Who was your Royal of the Match? Share your thoughts with us at @rajasthanroyals or with me @arey_yaar