After Jos Buttler scored 95 off 59 deliveries in Rajasthan Royals’ defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, Yas Rana puts Buttler’s 2023 season – and overall IPL career – into some context.

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It doesn’t exactly feel as if Jos Buttler is having a particularly impactful IPL campaign.

Following a historically dominant season in 2022, Buttler has spent much of this year’s tournament playing second fiddle to the prodigy Yashasvi Jaiswal at the other end. Slow starts have crept into his game, he’s had the odd duck and endured a run of six games without a half-century, for mere mortals a streak unworthy of attention but for Buttler it’s not an insignificant run.

But after his 95 against Sunrisers, Buttler, even in what is for him a relatively quiet season, is right up there with the top performers in 2023. Of regular openers this season only Jaiswal, Faf du Plessis and Rutaraj Gaikwad have both a better average (35.63) and strike rate (143.48) than Buttler has managed in 2023.

In what is now his eighth IPL season, Buttler is on track to leave behind an IPL legacy that only a select few come close to rivalling. Had Buttler scored five more runs today he would have drawn level with Chris Gayle’s record of six IPL hundreds from 49 fewer matches. His career IPL numbers are eerily similar to Gayle’s; Gayle averages 0.42 runs per dismissal more than Buttler and has a better strike rate by a margin of 0.02. And those are Buttler’s overall IPL career numbers, taking into account his time as a middle order batter.

In his 64 matches as an IPL opener, Buttler averages 44.06 and strikes at 151.69; quite simply, no one, AB de Villiers apart, has managed to marry consistency with destruction quite like Buttler has in the IPL.

Today was the perfect example of how the latest iteration of Buttler as a T20 opener can be so devastating. Buttler was 20 off 20 after eight overs before taking 75 off his next 39 deliveries at the crease. With Jaiswal in such scintillating form at the other end, there is less of a need for Buttler to go as hard in the powerplay.

Even with Buttler’s more sedate start, Rajasthan were 61-1 by the end of the powerplay. Rajasthan eventually lost the game, but that was more to do with a late capitulation from their less established bowlers at the death rather than their approach with the bat.

What makes Buttler such a precious entity in T20 cricket is that he is so effective in every phase of an innings. He can be destructive against both spin and pace, he rarely slows down against spin in the middle overs and he is devastating at the death; few players, if any, are that well-rounded. In five of the last six seasons Buttler has averaged more than 35 with a strike of more than 140;