Jos Buttler
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England batsman Jos Buttler has picked up his form for Rajasthan Royals (RR) from where he left off last season in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Buttler bagged the Orange Cap – the award given to the player with the most runs in an IPL season – last year as he finished the campaign with 863 runs in 17 games at an average of 57.53 and strike-rate of 149.05.

In the process, Buttler struck four centuries and as many fifties and the England white-ball skipper played a crucial role in RR's road to the final. Unfortunately, the 2008 champions RR ended up losing the final to first-timers Gujarat Titans (GT).

RR kickstarted their 2023 campaign on Sunday as they took on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. After being asked to bat first, Buttler opened the innings for RR and wreaked havoc on SRH bowlers. Thanks to some flawless batting from Buttler, along with young Indian batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, RR completed their first 50 runs inside four overs. RR then went on to register their highest IPL powerplay score of 85 for 1.

Buttler opens up on his 'favourite shot'

Buttler struck three sixes and seven fours en route to 54 off 22 balls, which also saw him move to second place in the list of most sixes for RR in the IPL – 112 strikes, three more than third-placed Shane Watson and 19 fewer than captain Sanju Samson.

When you talk about Buttler's game in limited-overs, there has to be a mention of the scoop shot, but against SRH on Sunday, the England national did not play it even once.

In an interview with RR teammate Yuzvendra Chahal after RR's 72-run victory, Buttler opened up on his love for the scoop shot, calling it his "favourite shot" before adding he goes for it only if he thinks it is 100% necessary.

"It's always my favourite shot. I'll try and play it as much as I can. Unless I feel 100% to go for it, I don't try. Today I felt like I did not need it as much. It was not a situation where to try it, so I didn't," Buttler told Chahal in a video posted by IPL on social media.

Buttler also spoke about his partnership with 21-year-old batsman Jaiswal, which turned out to be crucial in RR's first win of the 2023 IPL season. The two RR openers put up 85 runs off 35 balls for the first wicket in RR's innings against SRH.

"Some good nerves coming into the first match. Obviously, last season feels like a long time ago. So, starting fresh and managed to get a nice partnership going with Yashaswi, and we put pressure on the bowlers from the start, which is fantastic. Knowing when you have such a strong bowling unit, with yourself involved there, it felt like a really good score," Buttler added.

Buttler was a part of the England side that won the Cricket World Cup in 2019 by beating New Zealand in the final. The wicketkeeper-batsman then captained England to their second T20 World Cup title last year, where they defeated Pakistan in the final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

'Jos Buttler's presence itself brings positive energy'

With the 50-over World Cup scheduled to take place later this year in India, England will hope their skipper continues his ongoing good form.

Even RR captain Samson wants to capitalise on Buttler's form. Samson heaped praise on the Englishman, saying his presence "itself brings a lot of positive energy."

"He looks a bit of a serious kind of guy, but he has a lot of fun inside the dressing room and in the bus. He likes to talk to people and I think people are learning a lot," said Samson of Buttler, who won the Player of the Match on Sunday.