The quote on the IPL trophy reads, ‘Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi’, which means ‘where talent meets opportunity’.
Regarded as the most lucrative T20 league in the world, the Indian premier league provides the opportunity to hundreds of extremely talented players to create their identity on the global stage by showcasing their skills in front of millions of people. Like the previous editions, the fifteenth season of the IPL also witnessed remarkable redemptions by some promising players of the Indian domestic circuit, among whom the name of Rajat Patidar tops the list.
Patidar had an ordinary season last year and so, he went unsold in the IPL mega auction that was conducted prior to the commencement of the league. However, his destiny gave him another chance as he was drafted as a replacement for the injured Luvnith Sisodia by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. After smashing an impactful 32-ball-52 against the Rajasthan Royals in his very second match, there was no stopping for the stylish Madhya Pradesh-born batsman.
Statistically, Patidar ended the season as the third highest run getter for the RCB with 333 runs from just eight innings at a marvellous average of 55.50 and a tremendous strike rate of 152.75. He was behind Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli in terms of the number of runs scored, but was certainly much more impactful than the two stalwarts of the Bangalore-based franchise.
Further, Patidar has etched his name alongside Jos Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer and Dinesh Karthik in the elite list of players who have amassed more than 300 runs this season with an average more than fifty and a strike rate exceeding 150.
Digging a bit deeper, it has been found that Patidar has been a brute force for RCB in the middle overs phase, as suggested by the data in the table below.
|Balls faced||Runs scored||Average||Strike rate||BPB||Dot percentage|
(Rajat Patidar in 7-16 overs in IPL 2022)
Even Jos Buttler has struck at a lesser rate (149.1) with a greater dot ball percentage (29.6) than Patidar in the middle overs phase, which signifies how effectively the latter has played the role of a middle-overs influencer, thereby not letting RCB miss the best version of Glenn Maxwell.
One of the major reasons behind his excellence in the most critical phase of T20 cricket is his brilliant batting against the spinners. Facing 83 balls of spin in the 7-16 overs phase, Patidar has smashed 141 runs at a healthy average of 35.25 and a phenomenal strike rate of 169.87. His dot percentage of just 22.89 shows how busy he has been in the middle against the spinners, something the tweakers don’t like at all as it prevents them from setting up the batters.
Contrary to most of the right handers, Patidar enjoys batting against leg spinners and left-arm orthodox bowlers and has even outperformed Jos Buttler in this regard, as evident from the stats in the table below.
|Balls||Runs||Strike rate||BPB||Dot percentage|
(A comparison between Jos Buttler and Rajat Patidar against SLA and right-arm leg spinners in IPL 2022)
His returns against the seamers are terrific as well; as he has scored 167 runs at a brilliant average of 83.5 and a good strike rate of 136.9 against all kinds of pacers.
He stormed his way back into RCB and took a huge load on his shoulders when all three of Faf, Virat and Maxwell were struggling. More importantly, Rajat Patidar was the lone fighter from RCB’s star-studded batting unit in the all-important knockout matches. This signifies his ability of performing in the high-pressure games, which is a landmark quality to have as a cricket player. RCB definitely lost the battle of royals in the not so distant past, but Rajat Patidar’s heroics in the tournament were something they can certainly cheer about.