Jos Buttler notched up a record-equalling fourth century of the tournament as Rajasthan Royals hammered Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets on Friday to set up an IPL final against Gujarat Titans. In the hunt for elusive title, Bangalore set a 158-run target for Rajasthan, who rode on Buttler’s unbeaten 106 to seal the win with 11 balls to spare. While Rajasthan inched closer to second IPL title, Bangalore’s hopes of claiming maiden silverware were dashed with the loss. IPL 2022 Full Coverage

Following Bangalore’s exit from the tournament, former captain Virat Kohli has penned down a heartwarming message for the team’s fans. He also thanked the management and support staff for their support.

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“Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t, but the 12th Man Army, you have been fantastic, always backing us throughout our campaign. You make cricket special. The learning never stops. (1/2),” he wrote.

“A big thanks to the management, support staff and all the people who are part of this amazing franchise. See you next season @RCBTweets #PlayBold (2/2).”

Kohli, who has suffered three golden ducks this season, hit a six off Trent Boult’s opening over but fell caught behind to Prasidh Krishna in the next. He hit just seven to end the season with 341 runs in 16 matches at an average of 22.73.

The former captain was playing without the burden of leadership after he relinquished captaincy last season. Faf du Plessis was assigned the role after being picked up in the February auction earlier this year.

While du Plessis hit a sedate 25 against Rajasthan, his team kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Rajat Patidar, who made an unbeaten 112 in Wednesday’s eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants, fought a lone battle to hit 58 off 42 deliveries.

Patidar reached his fifty with a six off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal but soon fell to Ashwin as Buttler made no mistake to grab a well-judged catch at long-off. Prasidh Krishna then took wickets on successive deliveries in the 19th over to return figures of 3-22 from his four.

Du Plessis conceded that the side was short of a few runs in the crucial Qualifier and said 180 was a par score on the surface. He also thanked Indian fans for their “kindness”.

“That’s the incredible thing, not just the bubble but also you have a deep respect for the people in India. When you go back to your hotel and there’s always people working till 3 am, and then up at 7 am for breakfast again. Grateful for all the kindness shown to us as a team, but I know it happens all across India. It’s a very good part of Indian culture,” said the RCB captain at the post-match presentation.

“When we walked off the field, we felt were a few short. Was challenging the first 3-4 overs, was movement. Felt 180 was a par score on that pitch. First six overs felt like Test cricket. Compared to the other wickets, this one was quicker off the new ball, and then it eased off later in the innings,” he added.

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