Princely century of Devdutt Padikkal leaves the Royals of Rajasthan in tatters

Devdutt Padikkal waltzed a hundred dollars to win the Royal Challengers Bangalore victory in the park. Such was his dominance that Virat Kohli, his opening partner, was happy to play second violin. Together they achieved 181 points in an unbroken opening stand, as Bangalore won with 21 balls to spare. Four on the turn now.

From 43/4 to eighth, Rajasthan Royals recovered at position 177/9. Fairly decent, but not good enough on Wankhede’s favorable batting pitch and against Bangalore’s batting power. Mohammed Siraj (3/27) cast a fantastic spell to soften the Royals’ first order. Sanju Samson made things worse for his team by throwing his wicket again.

Padikkal excels

The southpaw had bolstered his reputation during last year’s IPL. This year, in the two matches he played on the Chepauk pitches, Padikkal struggled to time. On a surface where the ball was well on the bat, the left-hander found his rhythm.

He cut Chris Morris over point for a four. He drove a Mustafizur Rahman delivery beautifully over a long period for a six.

When the spinners arrived, Padikkal neutralized them with the lightness of touch. Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia seemed ignorant in the face of such a high quality stick. Shreyas Gopal was once knocked down on the edge of the third man. The Royals bowling alley made it to Padikkal’s ‘dancing feet and blinking blade’.

Fifty came out of 27 balls, thanks to a four out of Parag. The hundred was reached out of 51 deliveries, via a sparkling blanket off Mustafizur. He remained undefeated on 101.

All the while, Kohli avoided his ego and allowed the youngster to play the lead. Towards the back of the round, the Bangalore captain changed gears and galloped to a 47-ball 72 paces out, completing 6,000 IPL races in the process. But the night belonged to Padikkal.

Siraj sizzles, Samson sizzles

Earlier, Siraj cast a fantastic first spell to put the Royals under pressure. He kept Jos Buttler guessing with the angle variations.

The Royals opener went offside to score a limit. But when he moved to the side of the leg to make room for an upside down cover workout, Siraj followed him and broke his defense. The Yorker who fired David Miller would have eliminated almost all left-handers.

With the wickets falling at the other end, it was up to Samson to advance the innings. The Royals captain hit a sumptuous six on the deep mid-wicket off Washington Sundar, then chipped the next delivery straight to Glenn Maxwell at short mid-wicket.

It has now become something of a routine, from the T20Is against Australia in Sydney last year to this year’s IPL. Samson did not do justice to his talent. Shivam Dube, Parag and Tewatia helped give the Royals total respectability. But at night, they looked poor against the princely spectacle of Bangalore.

Short scores: Royals of Rajasthan 177 for 9 out of 20 ovs (Shivam Dube 46, 32b, 5 × 4, 2 × 6; Rahul Tewatia 40, 23b, 4 × 4, 2 × 6; Mohammed Siraj 3/27, 16 points) 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).

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