Rajat Patidar more aggressive than Virat Kohli and Will Jacks; pivotal in RCB's revival in IPL 2024 | Crickit

Rajat Patidar more aggressive than Virat Kohli and Will Jacks; pivotal in RCB's revival in IPL 2024

May 14, 2024 07:32 AM IST

Rajat Patidar stepped up and provided a late spark. He is playing a pivotal role in RCB's revival in IPL 2024.

He first came into the limelight when he smashed a magnificent unbeaten 112 off just 54 deliveries against the Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator in 2022. Patidar showed no nerves of playing in a big knockout encounter and counter-attacked even as some more famous names – the likes of Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell – failed to deliver. The other standout feature was his clean striking – Patidar blasted seven towering sixes during the course of his splendid hundred.

Rajat Patidar has picked up form in the second half of the season.(AFP)
Rajat Patidar has picked up form in the second half of the season.(AFP)

There is an uncanny similarity between Patidar’s performance that night at the Eden Gardens and his resurgence this season. Patidar had a torrid time in the first half of RCB’s campaign but just when everyone had written him and his franchise off, he stepped up and has provided a late spark playing a pivotal role in his team’s revival. He has risen to the occasion when the two overseas superstars – Du Plessis and Maxwell – just like in that Eliminator in 2022 - have been short of runs and failed to provide the impetus at the top of the order. Also, the quintessential feature of his batting has been his ability to hit the long ball – no one has hit more sixes in the middle-order than Patidar this season!

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A tough start to the season

Patidar was in woeful form with the bat in the first half of RCB’s campaign in the tournament. He had an aggregate of 109 runs in six innings at an average of 18.2 at a strike rate of 141.6. He had registered three single-digit scores and consumed too many deliveries for too few runs in two other encounters. However, Patidar did give a glimpse of his prowess smashing a 26-ball 50 against the Mumbai Indians, albeit in a losing cause. RCB were in the doldrums having registered just one solitary win in their first seven matches.

The transformation

Patidar hammered a brilliant 52 off just 23 deliveries in a stiff run-chase against the Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. RCB almost pulled off a miraculous win only to go down by a solitary run. However, that performance not only changed something in Patidar but lifted the entire unit.

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More aggressive than Kohli & Jacks

RCB have won five matches on the trot thereafter and are now serious contenders for a place in the playoffs. While Virat Kohli and Will Jacks have also played their bat in their team’s resurgence, it is Patidar who has been the master-slayer for RCB in these encounters. Patidar has scored 211 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 208.9 smashing four fifties in his last five outings. Just for perspective, Kohli has a scoring rate of 165.8 while Jacks has scored at 177.7 per hundred deliveries in this time-frame.

The pivot in RCB’s resurgence

50 off 20 deliveries (with 5 sixes) when the top 3 gave below-par performances against SRH – Patidar powered RCB to a 200+ total which proved too much to chase even for the famed SRH line-up. 55 off 23 deliveries against Punjab Kings, dominating the match-changing 76-run stand for the third-wicket with Kohli – RCB piled on a mammoth 241/7 and registered a big win. And finally a scintillating 52 off just 32 deliveries after losing both Kohli and Du Plessis in the powerplay – Patidar put together a match-defining 88 off 53 deliveries with Will Jacks and was the aggressor in the partnership helping RCB post a more than competitive 187 which proved to much for the Capitals.

Patidar is only the third Indian player to record five (or more) fifties in a season for RCB in the IPL – given the big names that have played for the franchise, this is no mean achievement. All his five fifties have come from the number 4 – a position he has owned in the competition. No other batter has registered as many half-centuries from number 4 – Riyan Parag with four follows.

Patidar has not only scored consistently but he has also scored his runs at a rapid rate. His strike rate of 192 is the highest for all batters who have scored a minimum of 100 runs from the number 4 position. He has left behind players like Shivam Dube (strike rate of 184.7), Suryakumar Yadav (183.7), Shashank Singh (168.8) to name a few. Patidar’s ability to clear the ropes has stood out in the season. His 26 sixes in the middle-over phase (7-15) are the highest for any batter in the tournament.

Destructive against spin

Patidar has been outstanding against the slower bowlers smashing them for 182 runs off just 81 deliveries at a stunning strike rate of 224.7! It is the third-highest scoring rate against spin in the season after Jake Fraser-McGurk (262.9) and Abhishek Sharma (239.2) – however, they are openers and have benefitted from the greater risk they have taken given the fielding restrictions.

A more likeable comparison would be with other top-order batters (positions 3-5) in the tournament and Patidar is heads and shoulders above some of the best in the business - Nicholas Pooran has a strike rate of 185.7 vs spin, Shivam Dube – 166, Tilak Varma – 156.6, Sai Sudarshan – 156.4, Shashank Singh – 154.6, Will Jacks – 153.4, Sanju Samson – 138.8 and Riyan Parag – 134.3. Patidar has scored 16 off 7 balls against Axar Patel, 12 off 7 against Kuldeep Yadav and 30 off 9 deliveries against Suyash Sharma. He even took 17 off 9 deliveries against Sunil Narine - the most economical spinner of the season.

RCB had lost the services of their most destructive batter against spin – Glenn Maxwell – and needed someone to fill in the gap in the middle-order. Patidar obliged and with interest! Not only did he cover for the cameos from Maxwell but also made up for the loss of form of Du Plessis and Dinesh Karthik – both have gone off the boil in the second-half of the RCB campaign.

RCB’s sternest test might still await them this weekend when they clash with arch-rivals CSK in what could potentially be a shootout for the playoffs. Will Patidar rise to the occasion again on Saturday?

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