Note: This article has been updated after Karnataka’s match against Railways on 28 February.

Devdutt Padikkal continued his sensational form, smashing a third successive century for defending champions Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday.

Chasing 285 against Railways, Padikkal made it a hat-trick of centuries with an unbeaten 145 off 125 balls as Karnataka won by 10 wickets. It was a 285-run opening partnership with captain Samarth Ravikumar who made an unbeaten 130. Padikkal hit nine fours and nine sixes in his knock.

The 20-year-old, who also has two half-centuries, now leads the Vijay Hazare run chart with 572 runs from five matches at an astounding average of 190.66.

It is worth noting that Padikkal was the overall top-scorer in the previous editions of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-overs). He scored 580 runs in 12 matches (five 50s and one 100) in the former and 609 runs in 11 matches (five 50s and two 100s) in the latter in 2019/20 editions.

Another big win took Karnataka back to the top of the Group E table ahead of Uttar Pradesh and Kerala on net run-rate.

Earlier, he led Karnataka to a nine-wicket win over Kerala in the tournament on Friday with his second century in two matches.

Chasing Kerala’s 278, Karnataka cantered home with 27 balls to spare with the Royal Challengers Bangalore opener hitting 13 fours and two sixes in an unbeaten knock of 126 from 138 balls.

He got fine support from Krishnamurthy Siddharth (84-ball 86 not out; 5x4, 3x6) as they toyed with the Kerala attack in their match-winning 180-run undefeated stand.

Fresh from his career-best 152 against Odisha, Padikkal carried on from where he left and put on a 99-run opening stand with skipper Samarth (62).

Abhimanyu Mithun (5/52) and Prasidh Krishna (2/65) shared seven wickets to restrict Kerala to 277 for eight after Karnataka opted to bowl at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Top run-scores in VJT as of Feb 28 2021

Player Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
D Padikkal (KAR) 5 572 152 190.66 97.77 3 2
T Agarwal (HYD) 5 446 150 89.20 96.53 2 2
R Samarth (KAR) 5 413 158* 137.66 99.27 2 2
P Shaw (MUM) 4 402 227* 201.00 130.09 2 0
Tilak Varma (HYD) 5 391 156* 97.75 97.26 2 1
Via ESPNCricinfo

Padikkal's scores as of Feb 28 in VJH Trophy

Score Opposition Ground Match Date
145* v Railways Bengaluru 28 Feb 2021
126* v Kerala Bengaluru 26 Feb 2021
152 v Odisha Alur (3) 24 Feb 2021
97 v Bihar Bengaluru 22 Feb 2021
52 v U. Pradesh Bengaluru 20 Feb 2021

Padikkal at Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021

Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
 Padikkal 6 218 99* 43.60 134.56 0 1
Via ESPNCricinfo

In the previous match on Wednesday, Padikkal notched up his List A career-best score of 152 to help defending champions Karnataka register a massive 101-run win over Odisha.

Padikkal smashed five sixes and 14 fours en route to what was his third List A century in his 16th game to propel Karnataka to 329 for five after being invited to bat at the KSCA Ground 3 in Alur.

The RCB opener paced his innings brilliantly, taking 55 balls to reach his half-century and 119 deliveries for his ton. But he took off in the final 10 overs as he cracked 52 runs off his last 21 balls to cruise to his maiden 150 off 138 deliveries.

In reply, Odisha were bowled out for 228 in 44 overs with Prasidh Krishna and Shreyas Gopal grabbing three wickets each to hand Karnataka their second win from three matches to move to second spot in the standings.

(With PTI inputs)