IPL 2021: Sensational KL Rahul Scores 98; Powers Punjab Kings to Win Against CSK
KL Rahul found scoring very easy in the second innings and reached his half century off 25 deliveries.
Punjab Kings’ captain KL Rahul played a blistering knock, hammering the Chennai Super Kings bowlers to all parts of the ground in Dubai to help his side register a huge 6-wicket win. Rahul, who scored at the rate of knots, finished off the contest with a monster six that took him to 98 not out.
Rahul’s 8 sixes and 7 fours in the 42-ball innings helped Punjab chase down the target of 135 in 13 overs, which would have done their NRR a massive amount of good.
Rahul's brilliant knock had completely overshadowed Faf du Plessis innings from earlier in the day, when batting looked a far tougher task.
Batting first, Chennai Super Kings looked like they were going to see their openers give them yet another great start. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis started off slower than usual but did not look too worried about it.
In the fourth over however, Punjab struck with Arshdeep Singh having Gaikwad caught by Shahrukh Khan for 12. In his next over, he packed off Moeen Ali for a duck as he was caught behind by KL Rahul.
While Faf tried to keep the scoreboard moving at the other end, CSK’s middle order continued to crumble with Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu adding 2 and 4 to the cause before being dismissed by Chris Jordan, leaving the team in a spot of bother at 42/4.
Dhoni and Faf then added 19 runs with the skipper slapping Ravi Bishnoi for a boundary through the covers before being foxed by a googly and seeing his stumps knocked over. Dhoni scored 12 off 15 deliveries and was dismissed with 8 overs to go with the score reading 61/5.
Ravindra Jadeja then joined Faf and the duo had to rebuild. While the South African was well set and looking to up the ante, Jadeja was more than happy to feed him the strike. With 4 overs to go, CSK were 86/5 and Faf was 10 runs short of his fifty.
Both continued to struggle with their timing and finding the boundaries before they managed to break the shackles in the 18th over. Faf brought up his half century and then finished the Jordan over with a couple of cracking shots to the fence to make it a much needed 12-run over.
Faf and Jadeja then proceeded to pick off 10 runs off Arshdeep’s final over, with the opener hitting the first six of the innings in the 19th over.
Faf then hammered 10 off the first two deliveries in the final over before Mohammed Shami’s bouncer took the top edge and Rahul completed the catch. Faf scored 76 off 55 deliveries as CSK finished off with a competitive 134/6. Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo remained unbeaten on 15 and 4.
In response, Punjab needed to chase it down in a hurry if they were to have any hopes of making the playoffs based on NRR, and right on cue skipper Rahul set off in blistering fashion. While Mayank Agarwal, normally the more aggressive batter was keeping the scoreboard moving at his end, Rahul brought out some of his most elegant shots, timing each one with aplomb, giving his side a great start.
Mayank scored 12 off 12 in a 46-run partnership that last four and a half overs before Shardul Thakur trapped him lbw. The all-rounder then dismissed Sarfaraz Khan for a 0 in the same over before a 5-run over after that from Josh Hazlewood saw Punjab end the powerplay at 51/2.
Rahul, who had already hit a few big shots, over the bowler’s head and over the leg side too, took Shardul to the cleaners in the next over, before completing his half century off 25 deliveries at the start of the 8th over.
Rahul had Shahrukh Khan for company, who smashed Jadeja for a six before being caught in the deep by Dwayne Bravo for 8 off Deepak Chahar.
The dismissals of course did not slow Rahul down who continued to be very harsh on the CSK bowlers, going for the big shots at every possible chance. Aiden Markram at the other end too got in the act shortly after coming into bat as Punjab crossed the 100-run mark in the 11th over.
Off the next over, Rahul scored 19 off Bravo in a 20-run over, hitting him for a couple of sixes as Punjab were on the cusp off a huge win.
Shardul though had other ideas, dismissing Markram in the next over, caught by Dhoni for 13.
However, as soon as Rahul got on strike after that, he finished things off in style, hitting a six to finish things off in the 13th over.
Punjab will now wait for the KKR result to confirm their fate in IPL 2021.
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