For any youngster, batting with the best in the business is a huge learning curve. On Saturday, 20-year-old Devdutt Padikkal had that privilege when he stitched a match-winning partnership with his captain Virat Kohli as Royal Challengers Bangalore gunned down a 155-run target set up Rajasthan Royals.
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After the early dismissal of Aaron Finch, Kohli and Padikkal came together at 25/1 and put on a 99-run partnership for the second wicket. Post the match, Padikkal revealed how much batting with Kohli meant to him, a man he’s followed since his formative years.
“It’s a different feeling (batting alongside Virat Kohli), I have watched him so much since I have been small. So, to bat with him is an unreal feeling and I’m enjoying it thoroughly,” Padikkal said after the match. “He just kept pushing me. I was getting tired a little bit, I was cramping up, he just kept pushing me to finish the innings. He kept telling me that I have to play till the end and see the team through. That’s how he bats and that’s what he was trying to convey to me as well.”
Padikkal and Kohli scored crucial half-centuries allowing RCB to register their third win of the 2020 Indian Premier League and go top of the points-table. For Padikkal, this was his third half-century in four games for RCB, with which his stocks continue to rise. He scored 63 off 45 balls with six fours and a six before being bowled by Jofra Archer.
The hot and humid conditions of Abu Dhabi took its toll on the youngster, but Padikkal called it a learning experience and stressed on the importance to carrying forward the good work his team has put together early into the season.
“I am just playing on the merit of the ball; I am watching the ball as closely as I can and trying to make the decision. It was really hot, especially after fielding for 20 overs to come out and bat, it was pretty hard,” he said.
“It’s important that we keep playing the way we are playing and keep getting the wins under the belt. Not anymore (when asked if he was pinching himself), maybe the first innings, now it’s part of the job and I just want to keep doing well for the side and keep winning games for the team.”