KL Rahul was the top-scorer in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 with 670 runs in 14 matches but questions were asked of his strike rate with Punjab Kings failing to get past the finish line on multiple occasions despite posting above-par totals.
KL Rahul had scored a strike rate of 129.34 even as the likes of his teammates, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran scored at a quicker pace. Rahul got as many as 6 fifty-plus scores but his strike rate, especially in the powerplay, was under the scanner.
However, KL Rahul made a statement as early as his first outing of IPL 2021. The Punjab Kings captain smashed 91 from just 50 balls as he helped his side post a mammoth total of 221 against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Rahul hit as many as 5 sixes and 7 boundaries as he finished his knock with a strike rate of 182.00. Rahul missed out on an opportunity to become only the 2nd India batsman to hit more than 2 IPL hundreds but he was going for the big shot even when batting in the 90s.
It required a brilliant fielding effort from Rahul Tewatia at the mid-wicket boundary to get rid of KL Rahul who tried to clear the fence in the final over of Punjab Kings’ innings.
Heaping praise on KL Rahul’s approach, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Loved the 91 but loved the strike rate even more! If K L Rahul bats at a strike rate of over 140, which he can easily, Punjab Kings will have a much better IPL than the last.”
“KL batted a little timidly last season. He probably batted deeper because there was not much batting after No. 5, and Glenn Maxwell was not firing. He took that responsibility on himself to try and stay at the crease and get the job done. This time around, everyone will see an aggressive KL Rahul for sure,” Jaffer had told the Times of India.
For Rajasthan Royals, the star with the ball was young Chetan Sakariya who finished with figures of 3 for 31 when all their other bowlers (barring Riyan Parag) went for more than 10 runs an over.