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Rajat Patidar ton keeps RCB in hunt for elusive title

Hope gave way to despair as Kohli fell for 25 but the 28-year-old made sure there was life beyond the Bangalore side's starry top-order

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 26.05.22, 01:35 AM
Rajat Patidar of Royal Challengers Bangalore during his unbeaten 112 against Lucknow Super Giants at Eden Gardens in Calcutta on Wednesday.

Rajat Patidar of Royal Challengers Bangalore during his unbeaten 112 against Lucknow Super Giants at Eden Gardens in Calcutta on Wednesday. PTI

Till a little before nine on Wednesday evening, Eden Gardens was buzzing with an optimism which focused around Virat Kohli. The majority were tilted towards Royal Challengers Bangalore in anticipation of another Kohli run feast.

Hope gave way to despair as Kohli fell for 25 but Rajat Patidar made sure there was life beyond RCB’s starry top-order.

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The 28-year-old Indore batter came in as a replacement for the injured Luvnith Sisodia after going unsold at the mega auction. His 112 not out off 54 balls revived memories of Manvinder Bisla whose 89 in the IPL 2012 final turned it around for Kolkata Knight Riders. Patidar added his name to the list of unknowns making an impact in crunch situations.

The Faf du Plessis-Kohli-Glenn Maxwell trio contributed 34 but Patidar and Dinesh Karthik took RCB to 207. It proved too much for Lucknow Super Giants as they fell short of the target by 14 runs.

RCB, still searching for their first IPL crown, will meet Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on Friday for a berth in the final. Gujarat Titans are awaiting their opponents in Sunday’s title clash.

The Super Giants began soundly but failed to maintain the momentum. Rahul and Deepak Hooda turned it around after the early fall of Quinton de Kock and Manan Vohra. They put on 96 for the third wicket mixing caution with aggression.

Just when it seemed Hooda was going to explode with two sixes off Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lanka leg spinner struck. Hooda perished trying to repeat a similar shot.

But Rahul hung on, picking Hasaranga for special treatment. However, disaster struck when 33 were needed off the last two overs. Harshal Patel’s 18th over yielded only eight runs.

Rahul failed to time his scoop off an attempted yorker from Josh Hazlewood in the 19th over. Shahbaz Ahmed timed his jump to perfection at short fine leg as Eden Gardens erupted in anticipation of RCB’s victory. Krunal Pandya departed next ball putting it beyond the Super Giants.

Kohli disappoints

The start hadn’t been encouraging though. Kohli survived a close Mohsin Khan opening over before trying to break free with a top edge over point.

That wasn’t enough to stop his miseries. His travails against spin continued as the Super Giants tried out Krunal inside the Powerplay overs.

Patidar, who came in at No.3, gave him some breathing space as he launched into the Super Giants attack. But still, not many of Kohli’s shots induced confidence among the crowd, which, according to the commentators, was 65,000.

Patidar’s maiden century in his seventh match coupled with Karthik’s 37 not out off 23 balls helped them cross 200, which at one point seemed a distant dream.

RCB excelled in the middle overs while the Super Giants lost the plot on the back of some sloppy fielding and inconsistent bowling.

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