England's Jos Buttler struck his maiden Twenty20 hundred as the Rajasthan Royals beat a Sunrisers Hyderabad without dropped captain David Warner by 55 runs in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Buttler's 124 was the centrepiece of the Royals' 220-3, his century against fellow strugglers Hyderabad coming off 56 balls including 10 fours and five sixes.
The Sunrisers only managed 165-8 in reply at Delhi's Arun Jaitley Stadium as the bottom side in the eight-team franchise competition lost to a Royals team who started the day in seventh place.
Kane Williamson, the new Sunrisers captain, won the toss and elected to field in a match again played without spectators because of Covid-19, with the coronavirus pandemic responsible for more than 215,000 deaths in India.
After Yashasvi Jaiswal was lbw early on to Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, opener Buttler shared a stand of exactly 150 with Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson (48).
Buttler, long regarded as one of the best white-ball batsmen in world cricket, eventually played on as he tried to slog Sandeep Sharma in the 19th over.
In all he faced 64 balls, with 92 of his runs in boundaries -- 11 fours and eight sixes.
"Obviously, I really enjoyed that," Buttler told Star Sports. "I didn't find it easy and haven't been in my best form for a while now.
"I just tried to stay in against Rashid. He has had my number for a long time, so thankful to not get out to him. I spent the most of my career in the middle order, where hundreds are not easy to come by."
The Sunrisers' Manish Pandey opened in place of Warner.
Together with Jonny Bairstow he put on 57 before he was bowled by Mustafizur Rahman for 31.
That turned out to be the top score of the innings, with England's Bairstow out for 30 and star batsman Williamson falling for 20.
Bangladesh's Mustafizur (3-20) and South Africa's Chris Morris (3-29) led the Royals' attack.
- 'Shocked and disappointed' Warner -
While it was already known that New Zealand captain Williamson would replace Warner as skipper after the Australia star had overseen five defeats from six matches, the Sunrisers surprised many by dropping the dynamic opener from their XI.
Although Warner has hit two fifties this season, the usually free-scoring left-hander rued his slow batting in the Sunrisers' previous match against Chennai Super Kings and took "full responsibility" for the defeat.
Hyderabad brought in Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi as the fourth overseas player in their XI.
Never before has Australia opener Warner lost his place with an IPL franchise for reasons of form.
Sunrisers director of cricket Tom Moody, himself a former Australia all-rounder, defended the decision by saying before the match: "We had to make the hard call, somebody has to miss out and unfortunately it's him (Warner).
"He's shocked and disappointed. Anyone would be disappointed."