On a day when cricket lost one of its finest batsmen of yesteryears in the form of Dean Jones, KL Rahul lifted the mood of fans with his sparkling batting display at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Rahul played a captain’s knock to steer Kings XI Punjab to a commanding total of 206 for 3 against Royal Challenges Bangalore (RCB) in the sixth match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League.
It was a one-way traffic as far as Rahul’s sensational batting show is concerned against the RCB. The 28-year-old Rahul pummelled an electrifying unbeaten 132 to take his side single-handedly beyond the 200-run mark. The opener blasted 14 boundaries and seven towering sixes during his career-best innings. He faced just 69 balls and finished with an impressive strike rate of 191.30.
During his spectacular knock, Rahul also became the fastest Indian to complete 2,000 runs in the IPL during his 60th innings. He shattered the record previously held by former Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar. Overall, Rahul’s present teammate Chris Gayle tops the chart of scoring the fastest 2,000runs racing the figure in just 48 innings.
After put in to bat by RCB skipper Virat Kohli, Rahul and last-match top performer Mayank Agarwal (26: 20 balls, 4×4) provided a flying start to the innings by adding 57 runs in seven overs before the later was beaten by the Yuzvendra Chahal’s googly.
Rahul was then joined by Nicholas Pooran (17: 18 balls, 1×4) and continued the tempo of the innings. Although Glenn Maxwell (5) was dismissed early, Rahul maintained the high scoring rate with continuous flow of fours and sixes.
Joined by his Karnataka Ranji teammate, Karun Nair (15 not out: 8 balls, 2×4) in the final five overs, Rahul changed gears to floor RCB. He launched a severe attack against every RCB bowler to complete his century. After reaching the milestone, he cut loose and cleared ropes at will.
Rahul was dropped by Virat Kohli at the mid-wicket fence twice in as many overs which proved very costly to RCB. The duo of Rahul and Nair added a whopping 70 runs for the unbeaten fourth wicket stand in the last 4.4 overs to end the innings in style.
Barring Shivam Dube (2 for 33 in 3 overs) and Chahal (1-25 in four overs) none of the RCB bowlers could restrict Rahul.
Kings XI Punjab 206 for 3 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 132 not out, Mayank Agarwal 26, Nicholas Pooran 17, Karun Nair 15 not out; Shivam Dube 2-33, Yuzvendra Chahal 1-25) vs RCB.