Star Turn

Royal Challengers Bangalore wanted to have their stronger suit in action against Delhi Daredevils' weaker department in the decisive moments of the match when they decided to bat first - only the fifth time a side had done so in a night match in Bengaluru. They would have thought they were in the match with fewer than usual - it had been more than two years since a score of under 200 had been defended successfully - but not as few as they seemed like getting, having crawled to 74 for 3 in 12 overs.

Kedar Jadhav, though, produced a blinder from there, hitting 69 off 37 to give Royal Challengers something to bowl at. In the end, it proved plenty, but it would have been a no-contest without the Jadhav counterattack. This was a time when Daredevils had bowled four overs for just one boundary. Jadhav was going at a strike rate of under 100, and Stuart Binny had barely broken even. Royal Challengers needed something, and fast.

Jadhav targeted Mishra, picking his variations, the smaller, front-of-the-hand legbreaks. The 24 runs in that 13th over turned it around for Jadhav and Royal Challengers, and he went on to lash boundaries off the quicks too.

The wow moment

Jadhav grep up playing tennis-ball cricket in streets and narrow playing fields in Pune. In that cricket, you could get runs only straight down the ground. So the short ball can trouble him, but equally he can improvise. He got only four short balls, and managed only four runs - off a top edge - off them. However, Carlos Brathwaite did try to use his height to bowl shortish deliveries into Jadhav's ribs. On both those occasions, though, Jadhav generated immense power even when driving off the back foot to hit him over wide long-off and long-on for six and four.

The numbers

  • This was Jadhav's highest IPL score, and only his third fifty in the tournament. However, he has struck those half-centuries at good pace, in 24, 26 and 29 balls.
  • Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the IPL, but has now gone wicket-less in his last five matches against Royal Challengers. Jadhav added to the ignominy by taking him for his third-costliest over, 24 runs.
  • Daredevils, Jadhav's former team, bowled only four short balls to Jadhav, for four top-edged runs.
  • What they said

    "I am feeling on top of my game. I am improving my fitness too so I can keep going in this form for longer. I just watch the ball, keep all the options open, and react to the ball. Two of the top players [AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli] are not playing in this match, so you have to take responsibility. That is what I wanted to do today. Not just today, I want to do it for the rest of the season."
    Kedar Jadhav doesn't want the good run to end

    "Few years ago a guy called @RobWalter17 told me that this @JadhavKedar guy can play.. Not that I didn't believe him, but oh my, this is good"
    One of the missing big players, AB de Villiers is impressed

    Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo