Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith hailed Harshal Patel as the unsung hero for Royal Challengers following their four-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.
Patel was pick of RCB bowlers with 1-18 from his four overs which included 11 dot balls. Smith felt that last season's Purple Cap winner is underappreciated despite consistently delivering for his team.
"Patel is incredible. He is always the unsung hero. No one talks about him. But he always keeps delivering game after game," Smith said in Cricket.com's review of the match.
The former RR opener felt that toss is going to be a crucial thing as he sympathized with Sanju Samson, who had lost all tosses in IPL 2022.
"I think most of the teams are gonna bowl first because of the dew factor. No surprises there. I think Sanju is going back to the hotel and practice with the coin a bit," he joked.
Despite enduring a dull period of a play in the middle overs, opener Jos Buttler helped RR finish strongly alongside Shimron Hetmyer with an unbeaten 70 off 47 balls. Smith felt that the England batter was kept out of strike for a long period of the innings.
"We all know how destructive Jos is. But it was also the fact that he was starved of strike in the middle period. I think he played just 38 deliveries by the 16th over which is crazy. That is something they wanna fix," he said.
"Rajasthan were a powerhouse in the first two games, but were probably 10-15 runs short. But Hetmyer and Buttler, being such strong finishers, gave them an opportunity," Smith added.
The former left-handed batter was full of praise of Hetmyer, who has scored 109 runs from three innings this season including an unbeaten 42 off 31 balls. In the 16 IPL innings he has played so far, the Windies Southpaw has batted at a strike of 173.8 and scored 351 runs at an average of 39.
"I feel No.5 is where he bats really well, particularly in T20s. It is difficult to be consistent because if you lose wickets, you will need few balls. If you are off to a good start, you gotta strike at something like 173 like he does. There was a bit wobble with the bat, but Rajasthan will be happy with the ratio of the runs their top four have gotten," Smith said.
Smith also felt Yuzvendra Chahal's confidence and form are going to be key for India in the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. While the other RR bowlers struggled, the legspinner gave away just 15 runs from his four overs and claimed the big wickets Faf du Plessis and David Willey.
"He has always not been performing like he is in the IPL now. But he looks confident now. He is getting to the crease, getting nice drift stump to stump, getting enough turn. He is playing with a smile on his face and enjoying his cricket."
"I think he is going to be important at the World Cup. In Australia, the boundaries are bigger and you need a spinner who can control the game. Chahal is putting his hand up," Smith said.
Smith said that Shahbaz Ahmed (45 off 26 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (44 not out off 23 balls) taking advantage of Ravichandran Ashwin's 21-run 14th over was the turning point of the match.
"That over (from Ashwin) changed the game. They really got the momentum and you can really see their confidence shining through. The two took advantage of that moment. At the end, it was a canter."
Despite a morale-boosting win, Smith felt that RCB still have few things to sort out.
"Tactically they were really good with the ball. But they still have some question marks. I think they are still looking for combinations. There are atleast two or three who haven't played their best so far."
"If you are going to be on a winning streak. The IPL is going to extremely tight and margins are going to be small. The run for the semifinals is going to be tense. Faf du Plessis and the others will be thinking about it, but will be happy to have won this one," he said.