Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have bounced back in style as they register their first win of the season by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by a margin of 97-runs in the game at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, on Thursday.
The victory wouldn’t have been possible without KL Rahul’s rip-roaring 132* off 69 deliveries that pushed the Punjab franchise past the 200-run mark which seemed difficult till the end of the 16th over.
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Chasing a score of 207, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost the momentum very early on and even cut their chances of the chase, as they lost the wickets of Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe, and Virat Kohli with the scorecard reading 4/3.
Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami rendered a major damage to RCB as they proved effective in dismissing big players in the powerplay, followed by leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi getting the better of Aaron Finch (20) in the penultimate ball of the eighth over and the score being 57 at the loss of five wickets.
Few deliveries later, Murugan Ashwin managed to struck gold as he got the wood on AB de Villiers on 28 (18b, 4*4s, 1*6).
Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar then built a 26-run stand for the 6th wicket which was then broken off in the final ball of 13th over by Glenn Maxwell, who maneged to bowl out the former.
It was just a matter of time before the entire team got out, with Umesh Yadav being out on a duck in the 14th over, Sundar (30) in the 16th over, and the wickets of Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal in the 17th over itself.
Bowling wise, Kings XI Punjab did a commendable job, with pacers Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami bowling three overs each and grabbing 2/17 and 1/14 respectively. Among the spinners, Murugan Ashwin (3/21) and Ravi Bishnoi (3/32) emerged as the top performers.
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KL Rahul’s majestic ton powers KXIP to 200-plus
Earlier in the day, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had a great start to their batting as the openers smashed from ball one and added 57 runs to the total.
Even though Mayank Agarwal departed on 26 in Yuzvendra Chahal’s first over, the partnership had set the momentum for the Kings XI Punjab. Southpaw Nicholas Pooran, who had registered ducks in both the innings in the last game versus Delhi Capitals, contributed in 57-run stand with skipper KL Rahul, who had now started to accelerate on his innings.
A smart move by Virat Kohli brought Shivam Dube into the bowling and the decision paid off, considering Dube managed to dismiss Pooran, and then Glenn Maxwell in this 14th and 16th overs respectively.
The situation was still in control for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as the scorecard read 131/3 by the end of 16th over for the Kings XI Punjab.
On the last ball of the seventeenth over, Virat Kohli dropped off a catch off KL Rahul, who was then batting on 84 off 56 deliveries. Then again in the 18th over, Rahul was dropped by Virat on the final ball of Navdeep Saini’s delivery, with the scores now being 157/3.
It was in the last two overs that KL Rahul plummeted the deliveries out the park as he first smashed 26 runs (4*4s, 3*6s) off Dale Steyn’s over.
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In the final over that was bowled by Shivam Dube, Karun Nair struck 7 runs in the first three deliveries, and with Rahul back on strike, he clobbered a four and then followed with two consecutive sixes that took his team tally to a majestic 206 in twenty overs, and an individual score of 132* (69b, 14*4s, 7*6s); the highest score by an Indian cricketer in IPL history.
Among RCB bowlers, Shivam Dube (2/33) was the highest wicket taker while leggie Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed economical figures of 4-0-25-1. Pacers Umesh Yadav (0/35), Dale Steyn (0/57), and Navdeep Saini (0/37) were pretty expensive in their quota of four overs.
Kings XI Punjab will next face Rajasthan Royals on September 27 while Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on the Mumbai Indians on September 28.