Rajat Patidar hit a sublime century as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Lucknow Super Giants by 14 runs in the Indian Premier League eliminator.

Patidar struck an unbeaten 112 from just 54 balls to help RCB post 207-4.

Super Giants captain KL Rahul made 79 off 58 in reply but the IPL newcomers could only total 193-6 as Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood took 3-43.

RCB faces Rajasthan Royals in the second qualifier on Friday to decide who will join Gujarat Titans in Sunday’s final.

India star Virat Kohli roared with delight after RCB secured victory, having lost the eliminator in the last two campaigns.

Kohli, who stepped down as RCB captain last year to be replaced by Faf du Plessis, is still seeking a maiden IPL title with the franchise he has represented since the inaugural tournament in 2008.

Lucknow, one of the two new franchises this season with Gujarat, is eliminated from the competition.

Patidar outshines RCB stars

Just looking at RCB’s batting line-up is a daunting prospect for any bowler. A top-four boasting Kohli, Du Plessis, and Glenn Maxwell should not leave any team short of runs.

But in the eliminator, when it mattered most, the three biggest names managed a combined total of just 34.

They were outshone by the relatively-unknown Patidar, who initially went unsold in the 2022 auction and was only drafted into RCB’s ranks halfway through the tournament as an injury replacement.

The right-hander targeted the leg-side, playing a series of powerful pull shots to bring up his maiden T20 century from just 49 balls.

He rode his luck too. Dropped on 72 and 93, he capitalized to crunch 12 fours and seven sixes in a brilliant inning.

Patidar and Dinesh Karthik, who hit an unbeaten 37 off 23 balls, added 92 runs for the fifth wicket and smashed 84 of those from the final five overs to set an imposing target.

Lucknow opener Quinton de Kock fell in the first over but Rahul smashed five sixes to keep his side in the chase, while Deepak Hooda added 45 off 26.

But Harshal Patel, who took 1-25, and Hazlewood bowled superbly at the death, with the Australian taking two wickets in as many balls, including that of Rahul, to settle the outcome.

Rahul finished with 618 runs, second only to Rajasthan’s Jos Buttler at this stage, in another fine tournament from the India batter with his new franchise.

RCB, who only qualified for the play-offs after bottom side Mumbai Indians’ shock win over Delhi Capitals, are looking to reach their fourth IPL final, having lost their previous three.

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