Queensland crowned Sheffield Shield champions after convincing win over New South Wales
18 Apr 2021
The talent quotient was never the question with Royal Challengers Bangalore but gelling as a unit was. As of now, they are ticking most of the boxes in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League after sailing past Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets in the 16th match of the competition. A thoroughly professional all-round show makes RCB still the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
A score of 177 after batting first was never going to be enough. However, with runs on the board, it’s always difficult for the team chasing, if they lose a few wickets early. However, that never happened as the opening duo of captain Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal ensured that the target was chased down without the loss of any wickets.
Padikkal who came into the tournament on the back of some stupendous form in the domestic circuit proved why he is one of the best young players in the country at the moment. While he was a prolific run-scorer for RCB last season, a question mark lingered on his strike rate.
Despite scoring more than 500 runs in the season, Padikkal’s strike rate hovered around the 120-mark which didn’t really help RCB in crucial junctures. However today Padikkal looked in a different mould altogether. The southpaw looked in a dominant mood right from the word go. How often do you see Virat Kohli giving the strike back to his younger partner in a partnership but it was Padikkal’s day and Kohli respected the situation?
He was nowhere close to his fluent best in the first half of the run-chase. However, with Padikkal smashing the RR bowlers all around the Wankhede Stadium, Kohli also decided to rise to the occasion. From nowhere, he started middling everything and completed his first half-century of the season. On other hand, Padikkal was on gear five from the word go. He raced to his maiden IPL century in 51 balls, an innings that included some delightful shots which was indeed a sight to behold. On quite a few occasion, his strokeplay had a shade of Yuvraj Singh in it. In the end, RCB reached the target in the 17th over with all 10 wickets in hand.
Earlier in the day, it was RCB skipper Virat Kohli who won the toss and opted to field. It was a fair call given how things have generally panned out at the Wankhede and his bowlers were there to back him. Mohammed Siraj who has been a revelation in the last few months made Jos Buttler dance to his tune. He was never comfortable against Siraj and was eventually castled by a peach of a delivery.
Kyle Jamieson bagged the wicket of Manan Vohra while Siraj came back in his next over and trapped David Miller right in front. It was a great review from Virat Kohli which saw Miller walking back to the pavilion. With the score reading 17/3, the RR skipper needed to show his skills. He started off with some impressive shots and yet again he was dismissed by Washington Sundar after striking a maximum.
With four wickets down, the Rajasthan Royals looked down and out when Shivam Dube and Riyan Parag resurrected the innings with a brilliant partnership. Dube did what he does best, swinging across the line and collecting some important fours and sixes. Parag was classy during his brief stay but his dismissal came after a terrific helicopter shot.
RR still were nowhere close to where they needed to be and needed someone to give them the much-needed impetus. They found an ally in Rahul Tewatia who breezed his way to 40 of just 23 deliveries and propelled them to a score of 177 in their allotted 20 overs. The effort eventually went in vain as RCB chased the total down with all 10 wickets in hand.
Rajasthan Royals skipper lamented the fact that their batting hasn’t been up to the standard which they are looking at. From a position of relative discomfort, Rajasthan managed to score a competitive 177 on the board.
“Our batsmen did really well to get a score on the board but they did really well to chase without losing a wicket. We need to do some homework and need an honest review about our batting. That's what this sport is all about, we keep on failing and we keep on coming about. It puts you down but you have to keep on fighting,” Samson said.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli lavished praise on Devdutt Padikkal who was quite magnificent. He had a great season with the bat last season as well but Kohli lauded him for the way he paced his innings.
“It was an outstanding innings, he batted really well for his first season last time as well. Bit of a talk about accelerating after 40-50, this was the best way to put it to rest. Great talent, great one to look forward in the future. I had the best seat in the house. I think T20 is all about partnership batting. You can't always be the guy going dominant. When one guy goes, it's important for me to rotate strike, and vice versa. Tonight my role was different and I wanted to hang in there. In the end I picked my spots, the pitch was good,” Kohli said.
Kohli also said that despite Padikkal asking him to finish the match off, he gave him the strike and wanted the 20-year-old to complete his maiden IPL century.
“We spoke about it [the 100], he said finish it off. He said many more to come, I told him you tell me that after you get the first one. I want him to build from here and really help the team. He deserved to get the hundred today, flawless innings,” Kohli said.
RCB doesnt have an out and out champions in the bowling line-ups. Rather they have bowlers who are effective despite not having the reputation.
“We don't have many stand-out names in bowlers, but we have effective bowlers. Guys who can do it day in day out. Four out of four times we've been the stand-out team in the death overs. We actually restricted 30-35 runs,” said the RCB skipper.
He again praised Paddikal for his special knock but asked the fans to not get over-excited as it is a long tournament and they have to keep performing consistently.
“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 are being professional, we understand the momentum can go away from us quickly. One step at a time, not getting overexcited,” Kohli said.
Commonly known as the voice of cricket, Harsha Bhogle lauded RCB for continuing their winning run and making it four on a trot. Virat Kohli batted his way to form and Bhogle said that Kohli's innings was just icing on the cake. Devdutt Padikkal who scored his maiden IPL century made Bhogle take notice of his class.
Bhogle was delighted with the fact that Mohammed Siraj has carried on the good work and has looked in terrific rhythm in the tournament so far. A joy to see him bowl is what Bhogle said of Siraj. He also deserved some praise for Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia who chipped in with crucial knocks for RR which helped them post a challenging score of 177 on the board.
The Cricviz Analyst like always gave us some number games to play with. How many false shots did Devdutt Padikkal play during his exceptional knock? Or has anyone scored more at No 7 than Rahul Tewatia?
Despite having a near-perfect game, analyst Gaurav Kalra felt that RCB might be a bit concerned with the fact that Maxwell’s run-scoring momentum has been halted. Maxwell began the tournament on a high scoring two half-centuries in the first three matches and making a match-winning impact in all the matches.
Ayaz Menon also reserved praise for RCB and their players who played a part in a convincing victory. He also added that it is a huge achievement to chase down 177 with all 10 wickets in hand.
Former Indian skipper and former selector Kris Srikanth showered praises on Devdutt Padikkal who managed to score his maiden IPL century. He also congratulated Virat Kohli for becoming the first player to ammas 6000 IPL runs.
It proved to be a rather lop-sided encounter in the end. While RCB have all their bases covered so far, the Rajasthan Royals need to claw their way back into the tournament. They have been pretty poor so far and they need to start winning to harbour any hopes of going through to the playoffs.