Rajat Patidar’s audacious stroke-play propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to a 14-run win over debutant Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Patidar’s maiden unbeaten T20 hundred (112 n.o., 54b, 12×4, 7×6) enabled Royal Challengers to post a massive 207 for four. They restricted Super Giants to 193 for six in front of a partisan house to make it to Qualifier 2 against Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad. 

After bad weather delayed the toss by 55 minutes and the match by 40 minutes, Royal Challengers, inserted in on a used pitch, lost their captain Faf du Plessis to Mohsin Khan in the first over.

As Virat Kohli (25, 24b, 2×4) looked to consolidate, Patidar primarily chose the aerial route to play the big shots. He selected Krunal Pandya for special treatment in the sixth over and helped his team collect 52 runs in the PowerPlay.

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Kohli fell to an ill-timed uppercut off Avesh Khan, bringing his 66-run partnership with Patidar to an end.  

Patidar carried on with confidence and adjusted his shots well to earn benefits. He nonchalantly clobbered Ravi Bishnoi for 6, 4, 6, 4 and 6 between mid-wicket and long-off as the spinner leaked 27 runs in the 16th over. To the utter frustration of Bishnoi, Deepak Hooda dropped Patidar on 76 on the mid-wicket boundary.

The 28-year-old Madhya Pradesh batter, who again got a reprieve on 93, pulled Mohsin for a massive six to reach his century. He added 92 runs with Dinesh Karthik (37 n.o., 23b, 5×4, 1×6), who again dazzled in his cameo knock, as Royal Challengers went past 200 for the second time this season.  

Sloppy fielding let Super Giants down in the last five overs, which went for 84 runs.

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In reply, Super Giants lost two wickets inside five overs. But skipper KL Rahul blasted Mohammed Siraj for two sixes and a four on the onside in the sixth over and took his side to 62 inside the PowerPlay.

Backed by some brilliant fielding, Royal Challengers bowlers – led by the accurate Wanindu Hasaranga and skillful Harshal Patel – kept it tight in the middle overs.

Rahul (79, 58b, 3×4, 5×6), who got his half-century, and Hooda (45, 26b, 1×4, 4×6) tried to bring down the mounting run rate. But Hasaranga castled Hooda after being hit for two sixes to break the 96-run partnership.

Josh Hazelwood removed Rahul and Krunal Pandya in the 19th over as du Plessis used his resources well to ensure a thrilling victory.

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