Can Jos Buttler (L) break Virat Kohli (R)’s record for most runs in an IPL season?
When Virat Kohli notched a still-scarcely-believable 973 runs in IPL 2016, not many would have thought the record would ever be beaten, at least by someone other than the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batter himself.
It hasn’t happened in five years. But with Rajasthan Royals (RR) opener Jos Buttler reaching 491 runs after just seven games in IPL 2022, that idea seems quite close to coming true. Below, we consider three reasons why he can beat Kohli’s record.
#1 History backs Jos Buttler’s consistency
Buttler has arrived at the halfway mark with an average of 81.83 and a strike rate of 161.51. After seven innings in 2016, Kohli averaged 72.16 and struck at a much-lower 129.69.
While Buttler has already scored three magnificent centuries this season, Kohli managed only one in the first seven games in 2016. The former India captain picked up the pace and hit three more tons – another record – in the second half to conclude with an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03.
Although the gloveman can’t match Kohli’s IPL aggregate and experience, the Englishman does have history backing his consistency. For instance, in 2018, he didn’t even have a single half-century in the first half but went on to hit five fifties, including a 95* and a 94*, on the trot in the second half.
He’s in the best form of his IPL career this year, has almost perennially donned the Orange Cap, and looks unlikely to settle for anything less than Kohli’s record.
#2 Favorable match-ups
RR are part of Group A of IPL 2022, which also includes Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). RR have played them once this season and will clash with them again before the playoffs.
Buttler has already hit hundreds against Mumbai and Kolkata this season and now both teams’ bowling attacks are struggling for form, especially in the death overs. The RR opener also scored a hundred against DC in the past and will have a psychological advantage over them when they meet again in mid-May.
He’ll end the league stage with a match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who, despite showing some improvement recently, have one of the weakest bowling lineups. These favorable matchups could play into the Englishman’s hands in his chase for Kohli’s record.
#3 RR’s high probability of reaching the final
The more matches he plays, the better chance the right-hander will have to breach Kohli’s 973. At the moment, the Royals look set to play at least two more games than most other franchises. RR are currently atop the standings with 12 points from eight games, level on points with the second-placed Gujarat Titans (GT), who have played one more match. They have a superbly balanced bowling attack and an exciting, collaborative batting order which could take them to the finals.
Kohli scored 0 and 54 in the first Qualifier and the final, respectively, in 2016. Being a big-match player himself, Buttler could get an edge over the star RCB batter.