RCB slumped to their second defeat in IPL 2021 on Friday, losing to Punjab Kings (PBKS) by 34 runs in Ahmedabad. Rajat Patidar, who batted at no. 3, ahead of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, struggled to a scratchy 30-ball 31, occupying the crease for almost 12 overs in his team's tall chase of 180.
Nevertheless, in a post-match interaction, Simon Katich praised Rajat Patidar for his batting ability and hoped that the player stands in good stead for the experience. The RCB head coach said in this regard:
“Rajat Patidar has settled into the team nicely. This is his first IPL season, and he has already shown a lot of ability, especially in the practice games. He played nicely in the match against Delhi Capitals earlier this week. It was a valuable contribution of 31 (31 runs off 20 balls). Tonight, he found it a bit tough. Credit to Punjab for bowling well. He kept trying, but the wicket wasn’t easy to bat on, particularly against spinners. He’s a very good young player and will benefit from the experience.”
RCB were struggling at 96 for seven in the 16th over but managed to get to 145, courtesy a brisk 23-ball 48-run eighth-wicket stand between Harshal Patel and Kyle Jamieson.
Katich noted his team's batting depth but lamented the failure of the main batters, which put a lot of pressure on the lower order, saying:
“Harshal has already done a magnificent job with the ball. He played a very good knock at the end, smacking those boundaries. We have a number of guys who can hold the bat and do well at the back end of the innings, but tonight we left it too late, and it added pressure on the lower-middle order. We will adjust that and return strongly against KKR (0n Monday)."
Rajat Patidar’s rise to fame
While many fans expressed their disappointment on social media for Rajat Patidar batting ahead of Maxwell and AB De Villiers, RCB captain Virat Kohli showered praise on the Madhya Pradesh batsman, calling him a ‘quality player’.
Rajat Patidar made headlines with his performances in the 2020-21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) for Madhya Pradesh, scoring 221 runs at an average of 44.2 while striking at 153.5. RCB soon picked him up at the 2021 mini-auction at his base price of INR 20 lakh.
Patidar went on to impress the team management with a 35-ball 54 and a 49-ball 104 in the RCB intra-squad practice matches ahead of the tournament. However, in four matches in IPL 2021, Rajat Patidar has scored only 71 runs at an average of 17.75 and a strike rate of 114.5.
With ten points from seven games, RCB are third in the point table. They play Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Monday, whom they beat comfortably during the Chennai leg of their campaign.