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GUGOBET| A Spin-Hitting Masterclass From Rajat Patidar!

Rajat Patidar
Rajat Patidar

When he came to the crease, RCB were slowing down. By the time he left it, they were on course for 200-plus.

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When someone is really, really good at something, they can make that thing look so simple that it becomes difficult to pinpoint exactly why they're so good at it.

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Look So Simple As To Be Inevitable

Rajat Patidar's ability to hit spin bowling is like this. He hit Mayank Markande for five sixes on Thursday night, four of them in a row, and he made each of them look so simple as to be inevitable. So precise and unfussy were his movements, and so sure and unhindered his bat-swing, that he made each ball look like a hit-me ball.

Mirror Image Of This Ball For Six

This wasn't quite the case, of course, and it most certainly wasn't when Markande bowled the last ball of that 6, 6, 6, 6 sequence. It wasn't a good ball, but it was an extremely difficult one to hit, dangled so far from off stump that it would have been called wide if Patidar hadn't hit it.

Rishabh Pant could have hit a mirror image of this ball for six, but he would probably have fallen to the floor while doing so.

It Was An Extraordinary Shot

Patidar launched it over extra-cover without showing the slightest strain of having to reach for the ball. His front foot moved a long way to enable the shot, but he didn't lose his upper-body shape even momentarily.

It was an extraordinary shot, and you need to play shots like that if you're racking up numbers like these:

Of all batters who've faced at least 50 balls of spin in IPL 2024, Patidar has the second-best strike rate (225.00) behind Abhishek Sharma (243.10).

Patidar Has Hit 14 Sixes

Patidar has hit 14 sixes against spin this season, which puts him in joint-second place alongside Heinrich Klaasen, with Abhishek (16) once again in the lead.

It was fitting, then, that the defining performance of Royal Challengers Bengaluru's 35-run win over the record-shattering Sunrisers Hyderabad of Abhishek and Klaasen came from Patidar's bat.

Flexing Their Pace-Hitting Credentials

Even before Patidar's arrival, there had been a sense that RCB weren't just playing an IPL game but playing one against this Sunrisers team. They had chosen to bat, with Faf du Plessis admitting that the decision had been made with their opponents' strengths in mind. They had begun their innings with palpable urgency, with Virat Kohli and du Plessis flexing their pace-hitting credentials in a 61-run powerplay.

But by the time Patidar came to the crease, RCB had slowed down significantly. Their top three has a distinct preference for pace over spin, and Sunrisers were beginning to exploit it.

Wicket-Taking Is Becoming Irrelevant

Shahbaz Ahmed had conceded just two runs in the fifth over, and Markande just four in the seventh while dismissing Will Jacks.

R Ashwin recently suggested on his YouTube channel that there's a growing belief within the game that "wicket-taking is becoming irrelevant in T20 cricket." Whether you agree or disagree with that sentiment, you will probably agree that it's sometimes beneficial for a batting team to lose a particular wicket at a particular moment in a game. The wicket of Jacks was like that.

Unbeaten 54-Ball 112 In The Eliminator

With Patidar's entry, RCB had, for the first time in their innings, a batting pair with complementary strengths. Its impact on the scorecard was unambiguous. RCB's other batters combined to score 15 off 24 balls against Shahbaz and Markande; Patidar hammered them for 40 off 12.

This ability against spin makes Patidar a key player in RCB's middle order - Mahipal Lomror is probably their only other spin-hitter with Glenn Maxwell sitting out - and there appears, at this stage, to be no style of spin that genuinely ties him down.

Over his IPL career, he's struck at 161.53 against offspin, 139.68 against left-arm orthodox, and a ridiculous 219.31 against legspin. Suyash Sharma and Markande have felt the force of Patidar's disdain for legspin this season, and Ravi Bishnoi when he smacked an unbeaten 54-ball 112 in the Eliminator of IPL 2022.

Patidar has only batted 19 times in the IPL, of course, so these numbers remain the outcomes of relatively small sample sizes. Small enough that he's yet to face any left-arm wristspin in his IPL career. But three of RCB's next four games are against Gujarat Titans and Delhi Capitals, so keep an eye out for Patidar vs Noor Ahmad and Patidar vs Kuldeep Yadav. You can be sure those two teams and those two bowlers are already drafting their plans.


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