It was a dream First-Class debut for Devdutt Padikkal two years back. It was a dream List-A debut 11 months later. It was a dream T20 debut for the youngster a fortnight after. And on Monday, it was a dream Indian Premier League debut for Kerala kid. After ticking off all the boxes with a maiden half-century on debut, Padikkal on Monday, at the Dubai International Stadium, scored a glorious fifty in his first appearance in the big league.
The last player to score a fifty on IPL debut was Sam Billings in 2016 for Delhi (then Daredevils). And the last Indian to achieve the feat was Kedar Jadhav in 2010. With the knock, he also joined captain Virat Kohli in a list of fifty-plus scores on debut for the franchise. Padikkal became the fifth from his franchise after Sreevats Goswami (52), AB de Villiers (54*), Chris Gayle (102*) and Yuvraj Singh (52*).
Padikkal almost batted like Yuvraj Singh - the technique to be precise - showed quick feet movement that allowed him to move across and pull the deliveries. Most of his runs came off the square region while only seven were scored down the V. A bit down leg or leg-mdiddle and the ball went over midwicket. And for deliveries which were angled across, he simply lofted them over the covers.
Leaving out Parthiv Patel, RCB opted the youngster as the opener alongside Aaron Finch on Monday, but it was Padikkal who bossed the opening stand scoring 37 off 26 balls en route to RCB dominating show in the powerplay. He smashed three boundaries off T Natarjan and one of Mitchell Marsh before the bowler limped off with an injury and a six off a no ball from Vijay Shankar. And then, with a sweep off Abishek Sharma, courtesy a fielding mess up in the deep from Rashid Khan, Padiakkal notched up his half-century.
He was eventually dismissed by Shankar in the 11th over after suriving two dropped chances, departing for 56 off 42 balls.
Earlier in the evening, SRH won the toss and opted to bowl in Dubai.