Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 161/3 (18.1) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/8 (20) by 7 wickets

Read play-by-play updates here.

14 years, countless heartbreaks, endless preparations, memorable matches and a terrific season later - the Royals have sealed a deserving place in the IPL 2022 final with a thumping 7-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2. They’ve done it in style, they’ve done it by playing like true champions. And at the heart of our victory on a sizzling Friday night in Ahmedabad were our inspiring bowlers who brought their A-game, and an unstoppable Jos Buttler whose fourth century of the season powered the team home.

The night began with a pleasant surprise, as Sanju Samson won the toss opted to bowl first on a wicket that looked a bit sticky. His decision worked wonders as the bowlers were able to extract some pace and bounce off the surface. Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy combined to pick six wickets between them. While Prasidh provided the first breakthrough and kept bowling at speeds of 140 kmph+ throughout, Obed was once again spot on with his slower deliveries. And in the middle of it all was the experienced duo of Trent Boult and Ravichandran Ashwin, who struck just when the threat of a partnership loomed large. A disciplined bowling effort from the Royals meant that RCB were restricted to 157/8 in their 20 overs.

When Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler walked out for the chase, the intent was clear. To go big from ball one, put the opposition under pressure straightaway and finish the chase as quickly as possible. The openers went after Mohammed Siraj in the first six overs, finishing the Powerplay at 67/1. Once Yashasvi’s blazing 13-ball 21 came to an end, an explosive Jos took over the reins and from thereon, there was no looking back for the in-form Englishman. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key moments from this special game:

Superhuman Jos turns up the heat

“I came into the season with very low expectations, but with a lot of energy and excitement,” said a smiling Jos Buttler at the post-match presentation, as he collected the Player of the Match award for his match-winning hundred. 

824 runs in 16 innings so far with more hundreds than anyone else in a single IPL season - this has truly been the summer of Jos Buttler. And it’s not just his magical, effortless big-hitting that has grabbed eyeballs and won hearts, but also the calculated approach and composure he brings to the crease as an anchor. By his own admission, he has had a season of two halves. A series of big scores in the first half was followed by some quiet outings in the second, but the opener bounced back just in time for the playoffs. His unbeaten 106 came off just 60 balls and included 10 fours and six sixes at an incredible strike rate of 176.67. 

Fast bowlers unite

A fast bowling exhibition at one end, a masterclass in slower ones at the other. Pure skill, all class. With figures of 3/22 and 3/23 respectively, fast bowlers Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy pulled things back from time to time, making it nearly impossible for the RCB batters to bounce back. The pair also put on a scintillating spell at the death, giving away just 25 runs in the last four overs. And just when a dangerous-looking Glenn Maxwell looked to break the shackles, Sanju Samson brought Trent Boult into the attack, baiting Maxwell into a big shot and ultimately sent him packing. 

Fielders’ day out

Time and again, our fielders have shown their commitment on the field with some breathtaking catches and run-saving efforts. This time too, the Royals’ electric athleticism was on display, from Jos’ no-look catch at the boundary to dismiss Rajat Patidar to Obed’s stunning forward diving catch. They say catches win matches and the Royals have almost always held onto the most crucial ones that have often been the difference between the two teams.

From striking in the second over to sealing the chase in the 19th, it was a dominating performance from the Royals. One that gave little room to the opponent, whether it was with the bat, ball or on the field. Prasidh’s fiery spells were complemented well by Obed’s brilliance, the fielders threw themselves at every opportunity, and Jos’ unbelievable knock stamped the Royals’ authority all over the chase. 

With the winning momentum on our side, we move on to play the all-important final on May 29 at the same venue, taking on Gujarat Titans for the third time this season.

Until then, Halla Bol!

What did you think of our performance? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or with me, @arey_yaar