Devdutt Padikkal's blistering 101 and skipper Virat Kohli's 72 from 47 turned the game into a lop-sided contest as Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets at the Wankhede on Thursday. Padikkal, 20, became the third-youngest player after Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant to notch up an IPL ton.
Padikkal's whirlwind left Royals' bowling unit gasping for breath as he hammered 11 fours and 6 sixes with the willow. While Kohli anchored at the other end, Padikkal kept hitting boundaries for fun as the pair added the first 100 runs within just 9.4 overs.
Chasing 178 was a cakewalk for the Bangalore-based outfit as the Padikkal-Kohli duo marched towards the target with 21 deliveries to spare. Padikkal, who battled with COVID-19 before joining RCB camp, returned with aplomb on a batting-friendly Wankhede surface.
"It's been special. I could only wait my turn. When I was down with COVID, all I was thinking of was to come here and play the first match here. I couldn't do that but was keen to contribute to the team's win. The wicket was coming on really well and we got a good start. "When you get into a partnership like that, it helps as runs come from both ends," said the 20-year-old after bagging the Man of the Match award.
Whether he was worried about reaching the three-figure mark, Padikal said, "Not really, that's what I was telling Virat to go for it. For me it's not about getting to a hundred, I wouldn't mind missing out on hundreds as long as I contribute to the team's wins.
"Throughout the innings, there were times when he was going better and then I was going better. Rotation of strike is important. We just clicked well," he concluded.
Padikkal-Kohli's 181 was also the highest opening partnership for the Bangalore franchise. After making it four in four and climbing to the top of the points table, RCB will hope to continue the momentum when they take on three-time IPL champions CSK on Sunday.