IPL 2021: Padikkal hits brilliant century as RCB thrash RR
The left-hander's majestic hundred gave the RCB an emphatic 10-wicket win
Having enjoyed the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fantastic start in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL), the fans of the Bangalore-based franchise were perhaps hoping for their captain Virat Kohli’s return to his fluent best on Thursday.
The RCB were brilliant once again as they inflicted a painful blow on the beleaguered Rajasthan Royals, handing the former champions their third defeat in the tournament.
But it wasn’t Kohli that illuminated the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday night.
Rather, it was the rising star Devdutt Padikkal, Kohli’s opening partner, whose sumptuous shot-making made a mockery of the Royals’ total of 177 for nine.
The left-hander’s majestic hundred (101 not out, 52 balls, 11 fours and 6 sixes) gave the RCB an emphatic 10-wicket win over the hapless Royals.
Such was the dominance of the bat over the ball that the RCB completed their fourth straight victory in the competition with 21 balls to spare.
Kohli (72 not out, 47 balls, 6 fours, 3 sixes) played his part too with a fine half-century, his first of the season.
With the ball not hitting the sweet spot of his bat at the start of the innings, Kohli allowed his young partner to take charge and Padikkal responded with a dazzling array of strokes against pace and spin.
Kohli eventually began middling the ball, piercing the field with some exquisite shots of his own at the backend of his innings as he also became the first man to reach the 6000-run mark in the IPL.
But the hero of the RCB chase was Padikkal who married sublime touch with brute power to knock the stuffing out of the Royals attack.
“It was an outstanding innings, he (Padikkal) batted really well for his first season last time as well. Great talent, great one to look forward in the future. I had the best seat in the house,” Kohli said of the 20-year-old Karnataka batsman’s innings.
For Padikkal, reaching the magical three-figure mark could not have felt sweeter, having missed the first match of the season due to a positive Covid-19 test.
“To be honest it's been special, all I could do was wait for my turn,” Padikkal said.
“When I had Covid, all I wanted was to come here and play, and when I missed the first one it really hurt me. But today even if I didn't get a hundred, it wouldn't have mattered to me if the team won.”
Earlier, the Royals innings would have been in shambles if not for the impressive knocks from Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia.
Having lost the first four wickets for only 43, Rajasthan were in danger of suffering a total batting collapse after the RCB had won the toss and put them in.
But the left-handed Dube (46, 32 balls, 5 fours and 2 sixes) showed immaculate touch and found a fearless partner in Riyan Parag (25, 16 balls, 4 fours).
Throwing caution to the wind, the two batsmen launched a stunning counter attack and revived the Rajasthan innings with their 69-run partnership off 39 balls.
Then Rahul Tewatia (40, 23 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) found the big shots at the backend of the innings to help the Royals put up a competitive total on the board, which eventually failed to pose any challenge to the RCB.
The RCB also had Mohammed Siraj (3/27) to thank for their brilliant start in the match as the pace bowler removed the dangerous Jos Buttler (8) and David Miller (0) with two lethal deliveries.
And, Harshal Patel (3/47), the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, made an impact with the ball again – even though he was a tad expensive.
“Dev's innings was outstanding, but for me the bowling which was aggressive, optimistic was key. I would just tell the fans not to get overexcited. We understand the momentum can go away from us quickly. One step at a time, not getting overexcited,” said Kohli about his team’s chances of finally ending the IPL title drought following their dream start to this season.
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