Buttler thunders Rajasthan into final

Josh Hazlewood and Glenn Maxwell have missed out on a place in the IPL final against Gujarat Titans after Jos Buttler’s blistering hundred for Rajasthan Royals secured a seven-wicket victory.

Fast bowler Hazlewood took two wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore in Friday’s qualifier in Ahmedabad, but the bowling side had no answer to Buttler’s unbeaten 106, off just 60 balls.

Earlier, Maxwell hit the third highest score (24) for Bangalore.

After Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson won the toss and elected to field, their attack laid the foundation for the comprehensive victory by restricting Bangalore to 8-157.

There was more disappointment for Virat Kohli, caught off Prasidh Krishna for seven.

With Buttler in prime form, this season’s leading IPL scorer smashed 110 fours and six sixes as the 2008 champions romped home with 11 balls to spare.

It was the fourth century of this year’s IPL for the 31-year-old Englishman from Taunton, Somerset.

Sunday’s final will be a rematch of Tuesday’s first qualifier in which IPL debutants Gujarat beat Rajasthan by seven wickets.

Put in to bat, Bangalore could not really get going and passed 150 largely because of Rajat Patidar’s breezy 58.

Bangalore’s batting otherwise did not click against Rajasthan’s disciplined bowling, spearheaded by Krishna and Obed McCoy, who claimed three wickets apiece.

Krishna dismissed Virat Kohli for seven in the second over and McCoy removed Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis (25) in the 11th to slow Bangalore’s top order.

Maxwell could not capitalise on the start he got either and was dismissed by Trent Boult for 24.

Patidar smashed three sixes in his 42-ball cameo but Bangalore still fell well short of the 175-mark, which would have been a par score at the ground.

Rajasthan’s chase got off to a rollicking start with Buttler maintaining his red-hot form as he and opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal (21) plundered 61 runs in five overs.

Buttler was on 66 when Dinesh Karthik dropped him in what proved a costly mistake.

Samson fell for 23 but Buttler could not be denied his fourth hundred this season and the Englishman sealed Rajasthan’s victory with his sixth six.

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