Jos Buttler ends IPL stint early to attend birth of his first child
Steve Smith steers Rajasthan to victory over Mumbai in his first game since being appointed captain
Last Updated: 20/04/19 7:27pm
Jos Buttler has ended his IPL stint with Rajasthan Royals early in order to attend the birth of his first child.
The England batsman - who scored 311 runs and three fifties in eight innings for the Royals this season - has flown home to be with wife Louise.
Buttler's top score of the campaign was the 43-ball 89 he smote against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium, but he missed Saturday's return fixture in Jaipur as newly-appointed Royals skipper Steve Smith (59no) steered his side to a five-wicket victory that ignited their play-off chances.
Ben Stokes was bowled by Mumbai spinner Rahul Chahar (3-29) for a duck, while Jofra Archer - hoping to gatecrash England's World Cup squad with strong performances against Ireland and Pakistan having missed out on the provisional 15 - earlier took 1-22 but dropped three catches.
Rajasthan will lose Stokes and Archer to England duty later this month - Buttler was also due to leave then - although that could give a chance to Lancashire's Liam Livingstone, who has played just one match so far in his maiden IPL season, scoring one against Mumbai on April 13.
The Royals announced before the fixture with Mumbai that Smith would take over as captain from Ajinkya Rahane with the side having won just two of their first eight games.
Smith is expected to be available until May 1 before he attends Australia's pre-World Cup training camp, meaning the Royals would require another skipper should they make the IPL play-offs.
Smith boosted Rajasthan's top-four hopes with the match-winning knock, as the Royals - who are now four points off the play-off positions with five matches to play - topped Mumbai's 161-5 with five deliveries to spare, Quinton de Kock's 65 for Mumbai coming in vain.
In Saturday's other game, Delhi Capitals defeated Kings XI Punjab by five wickets with two balls remaining to move level on points with second-placed Mumbai and two behind table-toppers Chennai Super Kings.
Chris Gayle (69 off 37) thumped a 25-ball fifty in Kings XI's 163-7 before he was out to a superb catch - Colin Ingram throwing the ball to Axar Patel before he fell over the rope at deep midwicket.
Delhi knocked off their target thanks to skipper Shreyas Iyer (58no), Shikhar Dhawan (56) and Ingram (19 off nine), leaving Kings XI fourth in the table, two points ahead of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders.
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