Former skipper Virat Kohli admitted he hadn’t seen a better innings in the history of the tournament than Rajat Patidar’s hundred that took Royal Challengers Bangalore to IPL 2022 Qualifier 2 on Wednesday. RCB will play Rajasthan Royals on May 27 for a place in the final.
The 28-year-old Indore man Patidar scored a 54-ball 112 not out to singlehandedly win the IPL 2022 Eliminator for RCB against Lucknow Super Giants at the packed Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. Patidar was dropped thrice on the day en route to his hundred.
“I told him as well after the game as well that I have seen many impact innings and many innings under pressure over so many years. I have not seen many better than how Rajat played today. Under pressure, big game, first uncapped player,” Kohli said after the game.
Batting first, RCB were off to a disastrous start after captain Faf du Plessis perished in the fifth ball of the innings off young LSG pacer Mohsin Khan. Patidar came in at No.3 and stitched a 66-run stand with Virat Kohli to steady the ship.
He also had brief partnerships with Glenn Maxwell and Mahipal Lomror before launching a deadly attack with Dinesh Karthik to take the game away from Lucknow Super Giants. Patidar was brutal against young spinner Ravi Bishnoi hitting the leggie for three sixes and two fours in the 16th over.
The Patidar-Karthik fifth-wicket partnership yielded 92 runs. RCB took 84 runs in the last five overs to post 207/4 in 20 overs. Patidar also became the first uncapped player in the history of the IPL to score a century in the knockout stages.
Kohli admitted the magnitude of the game was so big and tagged Patidar’s innings ‘very very special’. “The magnitude of the game was so big that I was feeling the tension in the air because I have been in those situations where you have to cross the line as a team.
“What he did was very very special, I don't think that anyone should take that for granted. You should understand the excellence of the innings and appreciate as a cricketer to watch an innings like that,” Kohli added.
Faf du Plessis Over The Moon
RCB captain Du Plessis too couldn’t stop gushing about young Patidar, who he feels has a good head on his shoulders. “I am over the moon. For a young guy to play like he did, the way he celebrated also tells you he has a good head on his shoulders. His hundred was one of the best I have seen in the IPL,” Du Plessis said.
Patidar’s innings was studded with 12 fours and seven sixes in his knock and what impressed his skipper was how he played shots all around the wicket. “He has got all the shots. Every single time he attacks, he transfers the pressure back on the opposition.”
No discussion is complete without a mention about ‘King of Death’ Harshal Patel, whose 18th over proved to be decisive. “A special card I can pick. He bowls the important overs. Second last one over from him changed the game for us,” the South African said.
Patidar Came In As Replacement
Rajat Patidar was ignored at this year’s auction only to be picked as an injury replacement for Luvnith Sisodia but the 28-year-old never cared about things that he couldn't really control.
“I was busy after the 2021 IPL playing for my club. I wasn't picked after the 2021 IPL but that wasn't in my control.” On his innings, Patidar said that his ability to make up for the dot balls is his real strength.
“I never feel any pressure as I think I have the ability to make up for the dots,” he said. The last over of the Powerplay where he launched into Krunal Pandya gave him confidence that this could be his day after all.
“When I time the ball, my focus was on it. The last over of the powerplay when Krunal was bowling to me, my execution went fine then and I got confident afterwards. The wicket was pretty good and I played some good shots,” he signed off.