KL Rahul starred with an unbeaten century to guide Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to a massive 97-run victory against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB), on Thursday (September 24).
KXIP skipper led from the front as he played a sensational knock of 132* runs at an astounding strike rate of 191.3. His innings was studded with 14 fours and seven towering sixes.
With this knock, Rahul not only became the first centurion of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, he also broke Rishabh Pant’s record of the highest individual score by an Indian batsman in the league.
Rahul rarely broke any sweat en-route his century, relied heavily on his flamboyance and incision to inflict severe damage on RCB’s bowlers.
The stylish right-hander, however, did carry a slice of luck with himself. None other than RCB skipper Virat Kohli himself dropped Rahul twice in the space of six deliveries.
The Mangalore-born well-capitalized on the missed chances and scored 42 runs from the last nine balls he played after the second drop.
Let’s take a look at the first centurion of every IPL season played so far.
1.) IPL 2008: Brendon McCullum (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum set the stage on fire with a blistering century which came on the very first day of the inaugural season of the T20 extravaganza in 2008. McCullum scored 158 runs from 73 deliveries at a strike-rate of 216.43.
2.) IPL 2009: AB de Villiers (Delhi Daredevils)
AB de Villiers scored the first century of the IPL 2009 while plying his trade for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). ‘Mr 360’ scored an unbeaten 105 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the ninth match of the tournament in Durban.
3.) IPL 2010: Yusuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals)
Yusuf Pathan scored a belligerent hundred, which came off just 37 balls, against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second match of IPL 2010. Pathan’s innings was laced with eight sixes and nine fours.
4.) IPL 2011: Paul Valthaty (Kings XI Punjab)
Paul Valthaty was in the form of his life in 2011. His knock of 120* runs guided KXIP to an improbable victory against CSK in 2011.
5.) IPL 2012: Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals)
Ajinkya Rahane’s quickfire helped his team post a daunting total of 195/2 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Rahane scintillating knock of 103* came in just 60 balls.
6.) IPL 2013: Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals)
Plying his trade for Rajasthan Royals (RR), Shane Watson scored 101 off 61 balls at a strike-rate of 165.67. This was also the first century of the IPL 2013 which came in the 30th match of the season.
7.) IPL 2014: Lendl Simmons (Mumbai Indians)
Lendl Simmons was the first batsman to score a century in the 2014 edition of the cash-rich league. Simmons scored 100 off just 61 balls against KXIP to propel MI across the finishing line.
8.) IPL 2015: Brendon McCullum (Chennai Super Kings)
McCullum once again became the first centurion of the IPL season in 2015. However, this time he did so while plying his trade for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The Kiwi star scored an unbeaten 100 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
9.) IPL 2016: Quinton de Kock (Delhi Daredevils)
South Africa cricketer Quinton de Kock scored his maiden century against RCB in 2016. De Kock scored 108 runs off 51 deliveries with the help of 15 fours and three sixes.
10.) IPL 2017: Sanju Samson (Delhi Daredevils)
Sanju Samson scored a whirlwind century against now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the ninth match of the IPL 2017. Samson made 102 off 63 balls to help his team post a steep total of 205 runs in twenty overs.
11.) IPL 2018: Chris Gayle (Kings XI Punjab)
West Indies hitter Chris Gayle, while featuring for KXIP, made the first century of the 2018 edition of the league. Gayle remained unbeaten on 104 off 63 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
12.) IPL 2019: Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals)
Sanju Samson scored the first century of IPL 2019 against SRH at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Overall, the right-hander had a terrific campaign that earned him a national call as well.
13.) IPL 2020: KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)
KL Rahul’s imperious knock of an unbeaten 132 made him the first centurion of the 2020 edition of the tournament.