IPL 2021: Devdutt Padikkal – Makes A Big Statement Showcasing His Aggressive Play

Devdutt Padikkal got a couple of scores between 10 and 25 in his first two matches for RCB in IPL 2021 and there were questions whether he would be able to replicate what he did for the franchise last season. The left-hander silenced his critics with what was unarguably his best performance in the IPL – a blistering unbeaten 101 off just 52 deliveries taking RCB to a thumping 10-wicket win in a not-so-easy-chase against the Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai.

What stood out and was special about Padikkal’s maiden hundred in the IPL was his strike rate. The left-hander showcased a side of his which is rarely on display – that is of Padikkal the aggressor. He took the attack to the RR bowling unit in the powerplay and scored 41 of the 59 runs RCB notched up in the first six overs. The  number of boundaries Padikkal was able to score with the fielding restrictions in place and his ability to hit straight and clear the stands were the standout features of his batting.

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He raced to his fifty off just 27 deliveries outscoring and out-hitting skipper Virat Kohli. Padikkal did not stop after reaching his fifty and continued to attack – this time taking a liking to the leg spin of Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia. He reached a magnificent hundred with a magnificent drive off just 51 deliveries taking his side to a splendid win – their fourth in as many matches – and with it making a big statement.

It is not very often, in any form of cricket that Padikkal unleashes his destructive best on the opposition attack. He usually plays the role of the anchor and accumulator – a role he perfected in the UAE in IPL 2020 where he outscored both Kohli and AB de Villiers with an aggregate of 473 runs which included five fifties. His strike rate in the season was 124.8 which indicated the role he was playing for the team. Very seldom does he show his other side but when he does it is splendid – Padikkal hammered 74 off just 45 deliveries against the Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi – the only substantial innings in IPL 2020 where his strike rate was in excess of 140.

It was a similar story in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2021 where Padikkal scored 218 runs at a rate of 134.57. The Padikkal at Wankhede on Thursday was reminiscent of the batsman he was in the 2019-20 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The left-hander top-scored in the competition with 580 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 175.75 including one hundred and five fifties. Three of his 50-plus scores came at a strike rate of above 200 and three others at a rate between 160 and 180.

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Padikkal has been a run-making machine across formats for Karnataka. He was the second-highest scorer of the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy amassing 737 runs in 7 innings at a strike rate of 95.96 including 4 hundreds and 3 fifties. Although he was outstanding in the tournament getting the big runs, Padikkal – the stroke-maker was still playing within himself – the strike rate of his four hundreds were 108.57, 116, 91.3 and 84.87.

It is possible that Padikkal assumes different roles depending on the team composition and need and situation of the match. 2020 was his debut year in the IPL and thrown in with the two greatest batsmen of the era – Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, he decided to play the role of the anchor at the top of the order.

He has now returned with more runs, more records and more confidence in his abilities.

We might just see the destructive and rare side of Padikkal – the batsman in IPL 2021.

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