IPL 2022: Jos Buttler's century against Mumbai Indians provides a template in T20 batting

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IPL 2022: Jos Buttler's century against Mumbai Indians provides a template in T20 batting
© Provided by Firstpost IPL 2022: Jos Buttler’s century against Mumbai Indians provides a template in T20 batting

Jos Buttler was playing his 300th T20 match. His last four innings against the Mumbai Indians read 94, 89, 70 and 41. Recent success against the opposition and experience was in Buttler’s favour. It was an ideal combination for him to showcase to the world why he is one of the best batsmen in T20 cricket. In one and half hours, Buttler put on a T20 batting clinic by thrashing the Mumbai bowlers en route to a brilliant century.

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Those that have watched or heard Buttler talk about T20 batting in various interviews will understand his concise thought process. First, he wants to study the opposing team and know the biggest threats. On Saturday afternoon against Mumbai the danger man was Jasprit Bumrah. In recent times, rarely does Bumrah bowl two of the first three overs of the innings. Mumbai specifically did it against Rajasthan knowing if Bumrah can pick the prized wicket of Buttler then they can dictate the flow of the game.

“Mumbai always attack me with Bumrah, he’s one of the best bowlers in the world and I find him hard to attack” Buttler said during the mid-innings break.

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Buttler is an experienced campaigner and ensured there were no unwarranted risks taken against Bumrah in the early phase of the innings. In the first seven balls Buttler faced, he could easily have been out three times, but he survived. The first task had been achieved.

The flood gates were due to open. The mechanics of Buttler’s technique are such that he likes stay deep in the crease, open up his stance and stay leg-side of the ball. This trigger movement enables him to swing his arms freely and hit the ball with power from third man to square leg. Basil Thampi’s length ball was ideal for Buttler’s swing mechanics and he didn’t miss out.

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The hard length deliveries disappeared over the leg-side boundary. Buttler sensed Thampi was under the pump, the field was up and it was just a matter of his natural instincts taking over. Buttler sensed the attempted yorker would inevitably turn into a full toss and the length ball was going to be repeated. After all, this was a man playing his 300th T20 match. He knew the moment had arrived to bury the bowling. Three sixes and two fours off Thampi’s first over had changed the dynamics of the innings. This was Buttler at his calculative best.

1st Century Of Tata IPL 2022 Registered by Jos Buttler. 2nd of his IPL Career. ❤️#Joshy💫@rajasthanroyals hope you like it 🙂 pic.twitter.com/EWq4L7tlUq

— Manish (@manish_brl) April 2, 2022

Buttler faced 27 balls in the batting power-play. It allowed him to gauge the nature of the pitch and construct his innings. He understood Bumrah would not bowl until the end so focused on accelerating the innings during the middle phase.

By the end of the 15th over, Buttler had swiftly moved to 96. He had scored 56 runs from 32 balls from the end of the power-play to the 15th over. Against M Ashwin, he played the waiting game for a few balls before lofting the spinner over covers and then executed the reverse sweep of a similar delivery. It prompted Rohit Sharma to change the field and the bowling. This was part of the innings that deserved plenty of credit. There was no late flourish to his knock, possibly due to the heat, but he ensured Shimron Hetmyer received an abundance of strike to ensure the team innings kept accelerating. Buttler had almost set a template on how to construct a T20 innings.

The other factor Buttler had worked out quickly was that Mumbai bowlers were going to make him hit towards the longer side of the boundary. Tymal Mills and Daniel Sams continued to angle the ball across Buttler forcing him to hit towards the longer side of the ground. Such is the skill of Buttler that he was able to glide those wide deliveries in vast spaces behind point with his wrists.

Later in the innings, he showcased his deft touch to dispatch a low full toss from Bumrah behind point for a boundary. It was another indication of his touch play and his awareness of the field. As Buttler brought up his ton, the celebration was relatively muted. It was as if he was destined to play such knocks and knew exactly how to construct such innings.

“The last few months have been wonderful, so just carrying on from there. Family time has helped me to relax and refresh. I always have confident coming into white-ball cricket, that’s where my strength is”

The nature of T20 cricket is such that one cannot be a constant success, but as Buttler showed on Saturday, there can be batting template to be successful in T20 cricket.

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