Jos Buttler was at his destructive best against Worcestershire in the Natwest T20 Blast contest on Friday, smashing a 22-ball 57 that helped his side comfortably chase down a target of 199 with eleven balls to spare. Buttler’s blitz, opening the innings alongside South Africa’s Alviro Peterson, nearly helped Lancashire surpass IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings’ world record for most runs in the powerplay overs which stands at 100, but they fell agonisingly short by two runs.
CSK’s breathtaking total came during the 2014 edition of the IPL in their Qualifier 2 match against the Kings XI Punjab, a match which saw two of the most highly destructive knocks in the IPL by Indian batsmen. Batting first, Punjab made a mammoth total of 225 in their 20 overs thanks to Virender Sehwag’s knock of 122 from just 58 balls, only to find themselves in the backfoot once CSK came out to bat.
Suresh Raina was at his flawless best smashing a mind-boggling 87 off 25 balls, a knock that included 12 boundaries and 6 sixes, as CSK raced to 100 off just 6 overs – till now the highest team total achieved in the powerplay overs in any form of T20 cricket. Raina’s run-out shortly afterwards derailed CKS’s innings that as they fell short of the Kings XI total by 24 runs, but there was no such problem for Lancashire on Friday as they capitalised on Buttler’s knock to win by seven wickets.
Buttler’s injury did not hurt his batting
The wicketkeeper batsman's knock was even more incredible considering the fact that he was nursing an injury to his left thumb that he picked up while keeping stumps. Though the extent of the damage will be known only once the result of an X-ray is out, Buttler showed no signs of discomfort during his innings, which included the county's fastest T20 half-century, from just 20 deliveries.
Though the boundaries at the County Ground, Worcester, was short compared to normal standards - on one side the boundary measured just 52 metres - Buttler's mastery can be measured by the fact that he smashed Kyle Abbott and Matt Henry, both international Test bowlers, for 40 runs between them in just 8 balls. Two of his four sixes cleared the ground and Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles was left short of words to describe Buttler’s amazing knock.
"To strike some of those balls that he did there, there's not many, if any, in world cricket who can do that," Giles was quoted by Sky Sports. "He now opens the batting as well. What doesn't he do? I asked him on the way down if he wanted to do it. He's done it for England in the week, so who are we to stop him? He can basically pick where he wants to bat. He's just high, high quality."
As for the injury, Giles said that things didn’t look too good for Buttler, who was overlooked for the English squad for the first Test against Pakistan which begins on July 14.
“We'll get it x-rayed and see where he is - it's not ideal," he said. “He did make a comment that he doesn't use his top hand anyway! I don't want to speculate (on how bad it is) but it's a nasty knock. Once we get it x-rayed, we'll know."Published 09 Jul 2016, 11:18 IST