Devdutt Padikkal managed to overshadow none other than the great Virat Kohli with an elegant hundred in Royal Challengers Bangalore's successful 178-run chase against Rajasthan Royals, in a virtual cakewalk of an IPL contest here on Thursday. It hardly happens that someone as brilliant as Kohli, plays a second fiddle, allowing the talented left-hander use his sinewy wrists to caress the balls to all parts of the ground during a mind-blowing maiden IPL century -- an unbeaten 101 off 52 balls.
RCB never looked in any tearing hurry and yet the target was achieved in only 16.3 overs with all 10 wickets intact. Kohli went on the offensive once Padikkal had ensured victory as his contribution was 72 not out off 47 balls in their unbroken opening stand of 181. The RCB juggernaut continues to roll with their fourth victory on the trot and a strong foundation in the points table going into the third week of the tournament. Royals, with a team that hardly inspires confidence, are again looking good for bringing up the rear.
The sixes that came off Padikkal's blade was more about timing than power as he hit 11 fours and six sixes during his knock. Picking the length of Mustafizur Rahaman's short ball and getting into the shape to execute a perfect pull-shot for a six showed why experts feel that it's only a matter of time before he dons national colours.
The inside out chip off Riyan Parag over extra cover to complete his half-century off 27 balls, the sweep shots, the slash over backward point and the straight sixes with economy of footwork, were all testimony to his solid technical foundation. Once Padikkal was in his mid 80's, the RCB skipper chanced his arms including a six over extra cover off Royals' costliest buy Chris Morris.
Kohli's 50 came off 34 balls and was followed by a personal milestone of 6000 runs in IPL as Royals surrendered way before the match officially ended. Earlier, Rahul Tewatia's impressive death overs hitting ensured a fighting 177 for 9 for Rajasthan Royals after yet another familiar top order no-show. On a good batting surface, Royals managed a total which may be 25 runs short but credit for the decent score goes to a counter-attacking effort from all-rounder Shivam Dube (46 off 32 balls) which stemmed the rot and big-hits from Tewatia (40 off 23 balls) that helped them get past 175-run mark.