At No. 3, Padikkal discovers his vocation
Devdutt Padikkal had a fantastic start to his career in the major league while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in his first IPL season in 2020. He concluded the competition as his team's leading run scorer and was also among the top ten run scorers that season. He also had a successful season in 2021, scoring more than 400 runs once more to finish second on the team behind Virat Kohli.
In his first two seasons, Padikkal averaged above 30, scoring six half-centuries and his first IPL century (which occurred in 2021), all from the opening position. But when he transferred to the Rajasthan Royals in 2022, the results were not as favorable. Padikkal had a meager influence with just one half-century in 17 games and an average score of under 23.
Padikkal scored 131 runs at an average of under 19 with a strike rate over 100 in just two innings while playing as the opener in seven games in 2022. In the final and the remaining seven games that RR played that season, he was dropped to No. 4, and the left-hander appeared to have found his place before his performance began to wane as the tournament drew to a close.
He got to play seven innings at two drops or below, so the Royals decided it would be better to employ him in the middle of the order for 2023 as well. However, he was only able to score 94 runs with a strike rate of 110.58 and an average of 15.66. Padikkal's contributions decreased as Jaiswal's stature at the top of the order grew, and the Karnataka left-hander appeared out of place in the middle order.
However, he showed some promise with a 52-run innings against RCB while batting at No. 3 and followed through when asked to bat in the same position against Punjab Kings in Royals' last league stage match.
After Jos Buttler was out for a duck in the match against Royal Challengers, Padikkal and Jaiswal made a strong connection and set up a decent chase of 190 but ultimately fell short. After Buttler was dismissed without scoring for the fifth time in this IPL, Padikkal was put in a similar scenario against the Kings. The last time Padikkal faced the Kings, he batted at No. 5, scoring a 21-ball 26 but his team fell short of the goal. However, this time he was in comfortable surroundings with a quick entry into the crease, pace, and bounce that he could take advantage of.
So he did. By the time Padikkal entered the middle, Jaiswal had already hit three boundaries, but the No. 3 wasn't going to back down as he guided away an Arshdeep Singh delivery for a four off his first ball. while the powerplay concluded, he had 10 more runs than his batting partner because he hit two sixes and a four off Kagiso Rabada. He was on 9 off 4 while Jaiswal had almost twice the runs. After the first six, Jaiswal slowed down a little bit, but Padikkal continued to hit the ball hard, scoring 51 of the 73 runs he scored in partnership with Jaiswal in just 29 balls.
When questioned if it was a staged maneuver to play the aggressor's role in the alliance with Jaiswal, Padikkal responded at the news conference, "Not really." "Whenever we have the chance, we both bat quite well together, and we were able to identify when one of us was playing the ball better and hitting the ball better. In order to ensure that we took our time and simply threw the bad balls away after losing an early wicket, we were trying to form a partnership there. We were pleased that we could maintain that alliance for as long as feasible.
With this innings, Padikkal has a count of 167 runs in four innings at No.3, with a normal of 41.75 and a strike pace of 145.21. " "In all honesty, even I don't know what the difference is," Padikkal responded when questioned about the disparity in his batting averages between No. 3 and lower. I've experienced one of those seasons with ups and downs. By and by it's not ultimately depended on the standard that I would have expected. But once more, I just want to learn every season I play in the IPL, am still young, and want to make my way in this game. A lot can be learned. Batting at No.3, 4, 5 and 6, I've done it this season and I'm truly glad that I'm learning (with) each and every open door that I get."
In the Kings' second innings, players like Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, and Dhruv Jurel had to step in and help the Royals overcome a slow start and win crucially to keep their slim hopes of qualifying alive. It was an aggregate batting exertion, with Jaiswal's 36-ball 50 likewise figuring in that. However, the stage was given by Padikkal, who was subsequently named the player of the match, and he could have recently tracked down his calling at No.3.
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