As crash courses in 'how to adapt to the capriciousness of T20 cricket' go, few might rival the one that Alzarri Joseph has had since his debut on the format's biggest stage.

A week to the day since he claimed 6 for 12, the best ever figures in the IPL, and two nights after hitting the winning runs for Mumbai Indians in a final-ball thriller, the fast bowler bowled the most expensive three-over spell for Mumbai in IPL history, conceding 53 without picking up a wicket in a four-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals.

The first two deliveries of that spell, during the second over of the Royals chase, hardly foretold what was to come. A hint of swing off the first meant the batsman, Jos Buttler, accorded it the respect it deserved. The 142kph outswinger that followed almost found the outside edge. The third ball was met with a half-confident lofted stroke off the toe-end of the bat but it fetched Buttler a four, the first of his 15 boundaries on the night.

Joseph's mixed run in that over included hitting Buttler's pads, beating the batsman for pace and then, off the final ball, being paddle-scooped for four.

Next up, Joseph squared up against an unlikely aggressor - Ajinkya Rahane. Struggling for form - and fluency - for the major part of the season, the Royals captain launched a rare - if brief - show of abandon. He carted Joseph for 17 off the fifth over, the standout stroke being a pick-up shot that sent a good-length delivery crashing into the base of the electronic advertising boards, wide of long-on, for a six.

With Rahane departing for a 21-ball 37 one over later, Joseph had to take on Royals' biggest match-winner once more. And Buttler, matching brute power with sweet poise, took 28 runs off those six balls, making it the second-most expensive over this season.

Bookended by two almighty sixes, the four fours in that over sent the Wankhede crowd into a tizzy. With the sea of blue cheering on the stroke play on display, the most unnerving for Joseph, perhaps, were the shots off the fourth and fifth balls: Buttler carved both with immaculate precision past short third man, from yorker-length.

"It happens in cricket. He [Joseph] won us a game defending a low total," team-mate Ishan Kishan said after the match. "But it [the 13th over] was a crucial over and the momentum went back to Rajasthan with that."

The thrashing at the hand of Buttler meant Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma didn't bowl Joseph out on Saturday night.

"Jos is a special player for our time," Dhawal Kulkarni said afterwards. "A knock like that… he changed the momentum of the game, which brought us back into the game. He's been doing that consistently."

And though he was spared more ignominy with ball in hand, the night didn't end well for the Antiguan.

Earlier in the day, ahead of the start of the match, the groundsmen at Wankhede had been piling layers of grass along the boundary at the North Stand. It was a routine measure to take care of the hard, yellowed patches, which, if left unattended, would have made it hard for fielders to dive around.

With Royals needing 13 off ten, Joseph, stationed at cover, sprinted after a Shreyas Gopal drive off Jasprit Bumrah. He ended up sprawled on the ground, just beyond the boundary, writhing in pain and clutching his right shoulder, which he had jammed into the turf as he dived.

By the time he got up and started walking gingerly off towards the dugout, Hardik Pandya was at the head of his run-up, hoping to defend six off the last over. He couldn't pull it off, Shreyas finishing the job even before Joseph could cover half the distance.

From the highest of highs, Joseph has hit a major low in just a week, not to mention the injured shoulder. Where will he go next?

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo