Devdutt Padikkal managed to overshadow Virat Kohli with a brilliant hundred in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s successful 178-run chase against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Thursday.
Padikkal used his sinewy wrists to caress the balls to all parts of the ground during a mind-blowing knock to reach his maiden IPL century (101*) off just 52 balls.
RCB achieved the target with a fair degree of ease, needing only 16.3 overs and having all 10 wickets intact.
Kohli went on the offensive in the second half of his innings, once Padikkal had ensured victory. He ended up with 72 not out off 47 balls in their unbroken opening stand of 181.
The RCB juggernaut continues to roll with their fourth victory on the trot. On the other hand, Royals, with a team that hardly inspires confidence, are again looking good for bringing up the rear.
The six sixes that came off Padikkal’s blade were more about timing than power and he also hit 11 fours during his knock.
Picking the length of Mustafizur Rahaman’s short ball and getting into the shape to execute a perfect pull shot for a six showed why experts feel that it’s only a matter of time before he dons national colours.
The inside-out chip off Riyan Parag over extra cover to complete his half-century off 27 balls, the sweep shots, the slash over backward point and the straight sixes with economy of footwork, were all testimony to his solid technique.
Once Padikkal was in his mid 80’s, the RCB skipper chanced his arm and hit some fabulous shots including a six over extra cover off Royals’ costliest buy Chris Morris.
Kohli’s 50 came off 34 balls and was followed by a personal milestone of 6000 runs in IPL as Royals surrendered way before the match officially ended.
Earlier, Rahul Tewatia’s impressive death overs hitting ensured a fighting 177 for 9 for Rajasthan Royals after yet another familiar top order no-show.
On a good batting surface, Royals managed a total which was perhaps 25 runs short of what they needed but credit for the decent score goes to a counter-attacking effort from all-rounder Shivam Dube (46 off 32 balls) which stemmed the rot and big-hits from Tewatia (40 off 23 balls) that helped them get past 175-run mark.
Dube smashed two sixes and five fours and with Riyan Parag (25 off 15 balls) giving him good support, added 66 runs for the fifth wicket off only 6.2 overs to give his team’s total some semblance of respectability.
While Dube was comfortable playing at “home”, the profligate top-order of Royals once again flattered to deceive along with their skipper Sanju Samson, who has been consistently inconsistent.
It took Dube’s impressive effort to lend some muscle to the Royals’ rickety-looking scorecard.
For RCB, Mohammed Siraj’s (3/27 in 4 overs) off-cutter first-up cleaned up Jos Buttler (8) and Manan Vohra (7) with poor shot selection off Kyle Jamieson (1/28 in 4 overs) might have ensured a lengthy spell for himself in the dug-out.
Siraj then unleashed a perfect toe-crusher for David Miller (0) as skipper Virat Kohli made a perfect call for DRS.
Samson (21 off 18 balls) followed soon after. A superb six off Washington Sundar was followed by an indiscreet chip shot at mid-wicket.
Dube’s two sixes in one over from Yuzvendra Chahal (0/18 in 2 overs) over long-on forced Kohli to take his leg-spinner out of the attack.
Kane Richardson (1/29 in 3 overs) then denied Dube on what would have been a good half-century as Tewatia upped the ante in the final overs along with Chris Morris.
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