ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2022 T20 leagues batting winner: Rajat Patidar's dream day

The RCB fill-in batter knocked Lucknow Super Giants out with a blazing century

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
There was a touch of destiny to this performance. Patidar was not even part of the RCB squad; he replaced the injured Luvnith Sisodia mid-season, and in the Eliminator, went on to have the kind of day batters dream of.
He batted as if in trance. If he drove along the ground, he found the gaps. If he hit hard into the ground, it bounced over the infield. If he ramped it, the ball went over the fielder. When he went for sixes, he got them.
With innings of such staggering numbers - 112 off 54 balls when the next-best score is 37 - there are extraordinary shots to remember. Patidar's innings was staggering in its minimalism: everything from his foot movement to the follow-through of the bat was economical. It was as if he stood there, watched the ball, and instinctively hit it in a manner where everything fell in place.
Once you zoom out of the pure batting part of it, the innings becomes even more special. Patidar did all this batting first in a night game where Royal Challengers Bangalore would need every single run they could muster on a small, dew-laden Eden Gardens.
ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats assigned the innings a Batting Impact value of 175.37.

Key moment

Despite Patidar's best attempts, the team's innings was an old-fashioned RCB one, with Virat Kohli dropping anchor and Glenn Maxwell struggling to get going. When Patidar hit Ravi Bishnoi for a six off the second ball of the 16th over, RCB were still going at roughly eight an over. Patidar, on 66 at the time, mishit that one, but Deepak Hooda dropped the sitter at deep midwicket. Patidar made 45 off 14 after that reprieve and took RCB to a winning score.

The numbers

263.63 Patidar's strike rate against spin bowlers in his knock. It was the fourth-highest strike rate for any batter against spinners in an IPL innings. He scored 58 runs off 22 balls against Krunal Pandya and Bishnoi, hitting them for six fours and four sixes.
362.5 Patidar's strike rate against Bishnoi, who has never gone for three runs a ball against a single batter in an IPL innings in which that batter has faced more than one ball from Bishnoi.

What they said

"Nine other franchises passed on him as well. Good on him for not giving up on his dream and actually coming back in the squad, then getting selected, and more than anything else, to play the way he has played."
- Daniel Vettori on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time:Out

The closest contenders

Will Smeed
101 not out vs Southern Brave, the Hundred, Birmingham

Birmingham Phoenix's Smeed made the first individual century in a Hundred match, and the opposition only did a little more than outscore him between them. The next best score in the game was 33.
Laurie Evans
76 not out vs Sydney Sixers, BBL final, Melbourne

Perth Scorchers seemed to have almost lost the BBL final by the time Evans walked in at 25 for 4. His response to the situation was not to rebuild but to counterattack, and he took his side to 171, which proved more than enough in the end.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo