Devdutt Padikkal waltzed to a glorious hundred to make Royal Challengers Bangalore’s win a stroll in the park. Such was his dominance that Virat Kohli, his opening partner, was happy to play second fiddle. Together they put on 181 runs in an unbroken opening stand, as Bangalore won with 21 balls to spare. Four on the spin now.
From 43/4 in the eighth over, Rajasthan Royals recovered to post 177/9. Pretty decent, but not good enough on a batting-friendly Wankhede pitch and against Bangalore’s batting might. Mohammed Siraj (3/27) bowled a fantastic spell upfront to soften up Royals’ top-order. Sanju Samson made matters worse for his team by yet again throwing his wicket away.
The left-hander had enhanced his reputation in last year’s IPL. This year, during the two matches he played on Chepauk pitches, Padikkal had struggled for timing. On a surface where the ball came nicely on to the bat, the southpaw found his rhythm.
He cut Chris Morris over point for a four. He gorgeously drove a Mustafizur Rahman delivery over long-off for a six. When the spinners came, Padikkal neutralised them with the lightness of touch. Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia looked clueless against such high-quality batting. Shreyas Gopal was once reversed-pulled to the third man boundary. Royals bowling surrendered to Padikkal’s ‘dancing feet and flashing blade’.
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) April 22, 2021
Fifty came off 27 balls, through a four off Parag. The hundred was reached off 51 deliveries, via a sparkling cover drive off Mustafizur. He remained unbeaten on 101.
All the while, Kohli eschewed his ego and allowed the youngster to play the lead. Towards the back-end of the innings, the Bangalore captain shifted gears and galloped to a 47-ball 72 not out, completing 6,000 IPL runs in the process. But the night belonged to Padikkal.
Siraj sizzles, Samson fizzles
Earlier, Siraj bowled a fantastic first spell to put Royals under pressure. He kept Jos Buttler guessing with the variations in angle.
The Royals opener walked into the off side to score a boundary. But when he moved into the leg side to make room for an inside-out cover drive, Siraj followed him and breached his defence. The yorker that dismissed David Miller would have gotten almost any left-hander out.
Sanju Samson’s IPL career:
🔹 111 games
🔹 28.13 average
🔹 Three centuries, 13 half-centuries
A 50-plus score for every 6.9 innings.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) April 22, 2021
With wickets falling at the other end, the onus was on Samson to take the innings forward. The Royals captain hit a sumptuous six over deep mid-wicket off Washington Sundar and then chipped the next delivery straight to Glenn Maxwell at short mid-wicket.
This has now become sort of routine, from the T20Is against Australia in Sydney last year to this year’s IPL. Samson hasn’t been doing justice to his talent. Shivam Dube, Parag and Tewatia contributed to give Royals’ total respectability. But on the night, they looked paupers against Bangalore’s princely show.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 177 for 9 in 20 ovs (Shivam Dube 46, 32b, 5×4, 2×6; Rahul Tewatia 40, 23b, 4×4, 2×6; Mohammed Siraj 3/27, 16 dots) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 181 for no loss in 16.3 ovs (Devdutt Padikkal 101*, 52b, 11×4, 6×6; Virat Kohli 72* 47b, 6×4, 3×6).