KL Rahul vs Jos Buttler - Two Batters, Two Different Approaches Yet Similar Domination
Jos Buttler and KL Rahul have combined to make 859 runs in 553 balls they have faced so far this season at a strike rate of over 165 and an average of over 70.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 has been a bowler's season so far. The bowlers have dominated the league, especially the pace bowlers with the new ball. The top-order batters haven't been able to make use of the powerplay conditions as much as they could have liked.
However, there are two openers who have scored five centuries between themselves this season - one is Jos Buttler with three tons and the other KL Rahul with two centuries to his name so far.
Buttler and Rahul have combined to make 859 runs in 553 balls they have faced so far this season at a strike rate of over 165 and an average of over 70.
Jos Buttler plays for Rajasthan Royals and KL Rahul for Lucknow Super Giants. These are two openers playing for two different teams with different batting combinations. The way these two have approached their innings is also very different yet the result has been quite similar.
Buttler's three centuries - 116(65), 103(61), 100(68); Rahul's two centuries - 103(60), 103(62)
The common thing about the centuries is both Buttler and Rahul have played a minimum of 60 balls during their century knocks. Despite the commonality, the pacing of the five innings and each of their T20 inning, in general, is very different.
Both KL Rahul centuries came against Mumbai Indians and finished at a score of 103. In both innings, Rahul didn't have much support from the other end for the most part of his innings.
In the first century - 103 in 60 balls - Rahul began slow, striking at 135 while the other end scored at a rate of 181. However, once the powerplay got over, Rahul began to loosen up - from 7-11 overs, his SR was 183.33 and in the next four overs, 228.57. In slog overs, Rahul scored at an SR of 157.14 to finish at an unbeaten 103 in 60 balls.
From the other end after powerplay, 7-11 overs - 105.56; 12-16 overs - 150; 17-20 overs - 160. LSG scored 199/4 where Rahul scored 103(60) and others scored 88(60).
In the second century - 103 in 62 balls - runs from both ends came slowly as Rahul scored a run-a-ball 19 off 19 while the other end scored 13 off 17 in the powerplay. Rahul began to let loose in the next five overs at a strike rate of 172.22 while the other end struck at 150.
From 12-16 as well, Rahul continued to strike at 183.33 while the other end struggled at a rate of 83.33. Rahul gave a perfect finish, scoring at a rate of 238.46 in the slog overs but still didn't get much support from the other end.
LSG scored 168/6 in which Rahul finished unbeaten at 103(62) while the other end scored 57(58). It was a top-quality knock on a difficult pitch.
In all three centuries, Jos Buttler made sure he made the most of the powerplay restrictions irrespective of how the other end played. Against MI, Buttler scored at an SR of 148.15 while the other end scored at 88; Against KKR, he scored at 170.37 while the other end scored at 80; Against DC, his SR was 130 while the other end scored at 106 in the powerplay.
However, what Buttler got from his batting lineup was much better support after the powerplay that gave time to him to settle down and choose his bowlers to hit. The bowlers which he didn't target, the other end took charge of it.
Against MI; Buttler scored 100 in 68 balls while the other end made 82 in 52 balls; against KKR, he made 103 in 61 balls while others scored 98 in 59 balls; against DC, he made 116 in 65 balls while others scored 101 in 55 balls.
Both KL Rahul and Jos Buttler scored five terrific centuries but in the LSG opener's case, he didn't get much support from the other end and had to smartly keep the scoring rate up without not taking much risk. In the case of Buttler, the RR opener got much better support from others.
Overall this season, Rahul has begun slowly at an SR of 117 in the powerplay while Buttler has an SR of 150. In the middle overs (7-16), Rahul has struck at over 164 and Buttler at 162.5. In the slog overs, Rahul's SR goes up to 191.89 while Buttler's increases to 211 but the LSG opener averages 71 in this phase in comparison to Buttler's 18.33.
Two different techniques, different approaches, different team composition but both Rahul and Buttler have shown a masterclass in how to adapt to the situation and get the team to a better position with whatever skills they have. With almost half a season still left, we could see a few more master knocks from these two high-quality openers.
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