Skipper KL Rahul’s batting masterclass was on full display as Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 97 runs in the sixth match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 in Dubai on Thursday.
Put in to bat, KXIP were off to a brisk start. The openers – Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul – played some delightful shots against the RCB pacers – Umesh Yadav, Dale Steyn and Navdeep Saini, helping their side to move past fifty in the final over of the powerplay.
However, Yuzvendra Chahal’s introduction into the attack gave RCB their first breakthrough as the leg-spinner broke through Mayank’s defence with a googly and hit the woodwork.
Nicholas Pooran joined Rahul in the middle and he and Rahul played out a couple of quiet overs before going after Umesh in the 10th over. The over yielded 20 runs, with Rahul hitting a four and a six off a free-hit delivery and Pooran hitting a four.
Rahul, then, brought up his fifty and KXIP crossed the 100-run mark in the 12th over, with nine wickets in hand. The 13th over of the game went for 14 runs.
Shivam Dube then struck twice in the space of his two overs. First, he broke the Pooran-Rahul stand, dismissing the left-hander, and in his next over, he got Glenn Maxwell out in the 16th over.
Rahul got two reprieves in the space of two overs and he made RCB pay for those missed chances as KXIP scored 49 runs in the last two overs.
Rahul went after Dale Steyn in the penultimate over, slamming 26 runs, with the help of 3 sixes and 2 fours and in that course, brought up this IPL season’s first hundred and his second IPL ton overall.
Dube, who had a good night with the ball till then, was handed the responsibility to ball the final over.
After Karun Nair scored seven runs of the first three deliveries, Rahul closed out the innings in style – hitting 4, 6, 6 as KXIP marched past 200, with their skipper slamming an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls, with the help of 7 sixes and 14 fours.
KXIP came out all guns blazing as Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammad Shami picked up three wickets, including that of Kohli.
In the first over of the RCB’s chase, Cottrell got Devdutt Padikkal out before Shami trapped Josh Philippe before the wickets. The West Indian pacer, then bagged the ‘Power Player’ with the huge wicket he got of Kohli as Ravi Bishnoi held on to a catch at mid-on.
While there were some big hits from AB de Villiers as he and Aaron Finch put up a 49-run stand, the two perished in quick succession. First, young Bishnoi disturbed the timber to cut short Finch’s stay in the middle, and then Murugan Ashwin got the wicket of de Villiers as Sarfaraz Khan held on to a catch in the deep.
Dube was the next man to get out before Bishnoi scalped his second wicket, dismissing Umesh, added one more to his account, dismissing Washington Sundar in his final over for 30.
Murugan Ashwin then picked up the last two wickets as KXIP bowled out RCB for 109 to seal a win.
‘Man of the Match?’ Who else? KL Rahul took the crown for his breath-taking play, century-hit, and all. Naturally, the ‘Game Changer’ and ‘Super Striker’ followed, and the icon walked away with the three titles.
[Sourced from IPL]