Captain KL Rahul starred with the first century of the season as Kings XI Punjab cruised to a massive 97-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Thursday, 24 September.
Put in to bat, wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul smashed an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls – the highest IPL score by an Indian – to help KXIP post a mammoth 206/3 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Tottering at 4 for 3 in 2.4 overs, Virat Kohli-led RCB were then bowled all out for 109 in 17 overs.
Rahul opened the innings with Mayank Agarwal and the fact that the latter was the second highest scorer for KXIP with 26, shows how big Rahul's contribution was. Dropped twice by RCB captain Virat, Rahul smashed 14 fours and seven sixes in his innings.
The KXIP skipper stitched 57-run stands each with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran. Agarwal was bowled out by Yuzvendra Chahal for 26 (off 20 balls) while Pooran was caught out by AB de Villiers at mid-off off a delivery by Shivam Dube.
Dube also removed Glenn Maxwell (6-ball 5) and reduced Punjab to 128/3 in 15.2 overs.
Rahul and Karun Nair (8-ball 15*) stitched a 78-run unbeaten partnership with the skipper scoring the majority of the runs.
RCB pacer Dale Steyn was the most expensive bowler of the innings, going for 57 runs in 4 overs without a scalp. Fast bowlers Navdeep Saini (0/37) and Umesh Yadav (0/35) also failed to pick up any wickets. Dube returned with 2/33 while Chahal picked up one wicket and gave away 25 runs in four overs.
None of the RCB players managed to make a mark in the innings.
Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami took out the top-order early, with Devdutt Padikkal (1), Josh Philippe (0) and Virat Kohli (1) falling cheaply in the first three overs.
Just when AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch seemed to have stabilised the innings with a 49-run stand, youngster Ravi Bishnoi bowled the latter out for 20 (off 21 balls). Three balls later, de Villiers followed him back to the hut after scoring an 18-ball 28 which featured four boundaries and a six.
RCB had posted 63/5 in 10 overs, and still needed 144 runs from 60 balls.
Washington Sundar gave RCB a momentary glimmer of hope, but was dismissed for a 27-ball 30 – the highest score of the innings.
Murugan Ashwin and Bishnoi picked up three wickets each, Cottrell picked up two scalps while Maxwell and Shami got a wicket each.
KL Rahul’s Record-Breaking Knock
KL Rahul smashed a few IPL records during his 132-run knock that helped him cross the 2,000-run mark in the league.
This was Rahul's second IPL century and fourth overall in T20s. It was also the highest score by any Indian in the IPL, surpassing the previous record of 128 not out held by Rishabh Pant.
Rahul reached three figures off 62 balls and was helped over the line by his opposite number Kohli dropping a couple of sitters in the 17th and 18th over. He ended the innings unbeaten on 132 off 69 balls, his innings laced with 14 fours and seven sixes.
On the way, he also became the fastest Indian batsman to 2,000 IPL runs, surpassing an eight-year-old record held by batting great Sachin Tendulkar. Rahul brought up the landmark in his 60th innings while Tendulkar reached the landmark in 63 innings.
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