On Thursday (September 24), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) locked horns with Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Dubai. After opting to bowl first, Kohli & Co. had restricted KXIP at 132 for 3 in 16 overs. However, KXIP skipper KL Rahul timed his attack to perfection and courtesy his 132 not out, off 69 deliveries, the Punjab-led franchise piled up a mammoth 206 for 3 in 20 overs. Rahul’s knock was the highest score by an Indian in the IPL tournament, also the highest by a franchise’s captain.
Following his sensation ton, former West Indies bowler Ian Bishop, on ESPNCricinfo’s T20 Timeout show, said, “The way he balanced his innings was great. I was sitting there watching those first 50 runs, and outside of the powerplay I was thinking ‘geez, he is just settling there, not anchor it, but looking to balance it’. And I think he did that beautifully. Forget the chances, the way he accelerated towards the end, having batting that deep in the innings, I think it makes him a complete batsman,” he added.
While agreeing with Bishop, former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir also pointed out, “I have to agree with Ian Bishop that in IPL, he is probably the no. 1 player at the moment.”
Rahul will be eager to maintain his top form in the upcoming league games and guide KXIP to the playoffs, who last reached the knockouts when the tournament was partially held in the UAE (in 2014, the first 20 games were held here due to general elections in India).
After dismantling RCB, KXIP will now lock horns with Steve Smith-led Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Sunday (September 27).