RCB’s brand new recruit Aaron Finch, who made his club debut on Monday, heaped praise on youngster Devdutt Padikkal, who took Dubai by storm, top scoring for the Reds with a fine 56. Finch said that he loved opening with Padikkal, and advised the youngster to stick to his natural game.
Having taken both the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali by storm over the course of the past 12 months, Karnataka youngster Devdutt Padikkal decided to own the IPL on Monday. Making his debut in the competition, the 20-year-old displayed a sanguine demeanor right from ball one and thwarted the Sunrisers bowlers all over the Dubai International Stadium. In his knock of 56, the southpaw struck 8 fours - scattered all over the ground - and at one stage, there were serious Yuvraj Singh comparisons drawn by both fans and commentators.
The man who had the best seat in the house to watch Padikkal’s knock was none other than the youngster’s opening partner on Monday, Aaron Finch, and in the post-match press conference, the Aussie limited-overs skipper expressed his admiration for the 20-year-old. Finch labelled Padikkal a ‘brilliant young player’ and advised the youngster to stick to his natural game and keep playing smart cricket.
"Brilliant young player, he (Padikkal) has shown it over the last couple of years in domestic cricket, U-19 cricket, how talented he is and how destructive he could be at the top of the order. I loved opening with him. He is such an exciting young player,” Finch said at the post-match press conference.
“My advice is to play your natural game and if you are feeling it against the particular bowler keep going. Play nice and smart, and then my role changes a little bit.”
Padikkal’s knock turned out to be a match-winning one, but at one stage, with SRH needing 43 to win off 5 overs with 8 wickets in hand, it looked like he and RCB might have to settle for a consolation prize. However, the bowlers pulled things back remarkably and choked SRH to bowl the Reds to a fine 10-run win. According to Finch, that was an outstanding achievement, given the ball was “like a cake of soap” owing to the dew.
"There was a huge dew. Tonight it was very heavy, the ball was like a cake of soap towards the end so that matter was a little bit tough for bowlers to execute their plans but they stuck to their tasks very well. It was a great effort from our bowlers,” said the 33-year-old.
The man who bowled the side to victory by holding that cake of soap in his hand was none other than Yuzvendra Chahal, who was named Man-of-the-Match for his otherworldly spell of 3/18. Finch labelled the leggie ‘the ultimate professional’ and lauded Chahal for his lion-hearted effort.
“He (Chahal) has practiced a lot and he is very experienced in international cricket where you are playing in a lot of conditions with heavy dew as well. He is an ultimate professional and he got the job done under pressure which was outstanding."
On the fielding front for RCB, it was Australia’s young Josh Philippe - and not AB de Villiers - who kept wickets for the side. Finch revealed that better match-practice made RCB go with Philippe versus SRH, but did not rule out the possibility of de Villiers keeping in the future.
“AB is doing a lot of keeping, so as for Josh he has been practicing hard on his keeping over in the UK when he was part of the Australian tour. I think it changes from time to time and depending upon the scenario,” the 33-year-old concluded.