Twin fifties from Kings XI Punjab were enough to mow down Delhi Daredevils’s modest 166-run target at Mohali. KL Rahul made the headlines for hitting the fastest fifty in the tournament, thus giving Punjab a super start in their chase of 166. He made 51 off 16 balls including 6 boundaries and 4 sixes. Later, when he departed, his Karnataka teammate Karun Nair took over and dropped anchor. KXIP eventually won by six wickets with 7 balls to spare.
After having restricted Daredevils well below a par total, KL Rahul came out in a devastating mood and flayed Delhi’s bowling in the first five overs. In a way, his knock ensured Punjab had an easy course ahead. His onslaught began in the first over itself as he hit Trent Boult for a six and a couple of fours. Then it was Mohammed Shami who was to face Rahul wrath. In his over Rahul got another six and a four. And then came the over which changed it all for Punjab and deflated Delhi.
Amit Mishra was brought in to slow things down but Rahul was so charged up that he went after Mishra and thrashed him. He got 24 runs off that over, including 2 sixes and three boundaries. Rahul had done his bit and in the fifth over, he was back in the pavilion.
Then came Karun Nair. He batted exactly the opposite way to Rahul. If Rahul’s innings gave Punjab a dream start, Nair’s fifty ensured Punjab maintained the tempo in the middle phase. His innings of 50 in 33 balls were laced with 5 boundaries and two sixes. Later, it David Miller and Marcus Stoinis ensured Punjab get full points from this game.
After the match, KXIP mentor Virender Sehwag showered praise for Rahul on Twitter.
“Rahul, naam toh suna hi hoga. Amazing hitting, and a 14 ball half century. Well begun boys #KXIPvDD,” Viru wrote on the micro-blogging website.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 8, 2018
KL Rahul’s reaction
“For years, I’ve been branded a Test cricketer. It’s good for me to be up there, creating history and breaking records. Hope to continue this way.” KL Rahul on changing perceptions.