Rajat Patidar: MP’s ‘Hanuman’ Lifts RCB’s Spirits

| Updated : May 26, 2022, 11:44 pm
Updated : May 26, 2022, 11:44 pm

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PUNE: “Rajat Patidar is the name you will hear and listen to a lot more in the future,” Virat Kohli said after Royal Challengers Bangalore edged Lucknow Super Giants in an Eliminator on Wednesday.

For a man who went unsold in the Indian Premier League 2022 auction in February, and was later called as a replacement for an injured player, to get the endorsement from India’s premier batsman after three months is a terrific feat.

However, this endorsement didn’t come easy. On Wednesday, Patidar went on the rampage and cracked an unbeaten 112 off just 54 balls to keep his team in the hunt for a place in the final. He became only the fifth player in the history of the IPL to score a hundred in the Playoffs. Also, he’s the fourth uncapped cricketer to thump a ton in the IPL.

Patidar came to bat at no.3 after Bangalore lost their captain Faf du Plessis in the first over. He began by whipping out a scorching back-foot punch off Dushmantha Chameera for a boundary. That shot was a portent for the things that were to unfold.

Patidar batted with a tremendous flourish and was especially strong on the back-foot. He reeled off a host of pulls, hooks and punches to carve a cracker of an innings in a do-or-die match.

In the sixth over, he thumped left-arm spinner, Krunal Pandya, by clouting him for three boundaries and a six. Patidar remained unruffled even after Kohli was dismissed and motored on in an uninhibited manner. He cruised to his fifty in just 28 balls and cranked up the tempo after reaching the milestone. He was also aided by slapdash fielding by Lucknow fielders as he was dropped on 59 and 93 by Mohsin Khan and Manan Vohra respectively.

Later, in the 16th over he smashed leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for three sixes, including two pulls, and collected 27 runs. He brought up his hundred by again unfurling a smashing pull off the left-arm pacer Mohsin in the 18th over. His whirlwind hundred powered Bangalore to 207-4 in 20 overs.

This coruscating innings has slalomed him to fame and he has become a household name now, but for those who follow the domestic circuit, Patidar was not an unknown name.

He has been playing first-class cricket for Madhya Pradesh since 2015 and has been turning in creditable performances, especially since 2018. But seven first-class tons and three List A hundreds didn’t give him the kind of adulation and fame that one splendiferous IPL innings brought.

Fondly called ‘Hanuman’ by his Madhya Pradesh teammates, a reference to being a crisis man for the team, Patidar now has the attention of the entire nation. But the job for the season isn’t yet done. Bangalore still have to win two matches (Qualifier 2 and then the final) to lift their maiden IPL trophy. Will Patidar do an encore? Watch this space…

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