Rahul’s blistering batting blows away the Chennai charge

The opener smashed the third fastest 50 in this year’s VIVO Indian Premier League to help the Shers record an easy victory.

Photo: SPORTZPICS

A 19-ball half century from KL Rahul along with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran’s supporting roles helped Kings XI Punjab record an impressive six-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Sunday in the team’s final match of the season.

Electing to bowl first, the Shers were off to a bright start allowing just 29 runs in the first four overs. The pressure of maximizing the powerplay got to Shane Watson, as he tried a cut shot but missed the delivery completely and had to walk back to the pavilion after the ball crashed into the stumps.

However, that would be only dismissal that the Shers would manage for a while, as new man Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis forged a 120-run partnership in just 75 deliveries to put the visitors in a commanding position. Their partnership started off slow, as they scored just 37 in just first five or so overs together, but 12 runs in the 10th over unlocked the shackles following which both players went on the offensive. 

Sadda Sher

KL Rahul batted like a man possessed as he smashed 71 runs off just 36 deliveries with seven fours and five sixes to take the game away from Chennai.

Captain Ravichandran Ashwin though managed to bowl a couple of quiet overs, but 18 runs each off the 14th and 15th over set CSK up for a grandstand finish. But Curran, who got the first wicket of the day, managed to get the Shers their second breakthrough, as Raina’s pull shot fell short went straight into the hands of Mohammad Shami at short fine leg.

Another tidy over from the skipper in the 18th put the pressure back on the CSK batsmen and in their efforts to accelerate the scoring, the visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals and finished with just 170 on the board having lost five wickets.

In reply, KL Rahul got the Shers off to a flyer, smashing three boundaries and two sixes in the first three overs to put KXIP well on top in the chase. Rahul kept going after the CSK bowling attack and took spinner Harbhajan Singh to the cleaners, scoring 24 run off the veteran’s second over to bring up the team’s as well as his 50 in just the fourth over. KXIP finished the sixth over at 68/0, the highest score in the powerplay at the IS Bindra Stadium this season.

Unha Da Sher

After Shane Watson’s early dismissal, Faf Du Plessis smashed a magnificent 96 off 55 deliveries to help the visitors score 170 in their batting effort.

Having been a spectator for majority of the proceedings, Gayle, too, got in on the act and smashed two sixes and a boundary off Imran Tahir to bring the required rate under seven. The visitors seemed to have gotten back into the contest after Harbhajan got rid of Rahul and Gayle off back-to-back deliveries and Mayank Agarwal an over later.

But new man Nicholas Pooran continued where the two openers left off and smashed his countryman Dwayne Bravo for a couple of boundaries before picking up a six and a four, off spinner Ravindra Jadeja to get the required rate under six runs an over.

Turning Point

Suresh Raina’s wicket off Sam Curran’s bowling in the 17th over proved to be a momentum killer for CSK, as they scored just 20 runs in the final 21 deliveries of their batting effort to finish with 170.

Tahir was the next bowler to face Pooran’s wrath as he too leaked 12 in his penultimate over, but the in-form West Indian couldn’t see the team through, as he was dismissed with the team needing just six runs to win the contest.

Sam Curran finished the contest in style with a flat hit for a boundary straight down the line, as KXIP chased down the total with two overs to spare to end their season on a high.

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