Dubai, September 24
Skipper K L Rahul's sublime hundred was the highlight of an all-round performance as Kings XI Punjab defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by a whopping 97-run margin here on Thursday.
Opening the innings, Rahul punished the RCB bowlers into submission to help KXIP to a daunting 206 for three before the bowling attack put up a disciplined effort to bundle Virat Kohli's side for 109 with three overs to spare.
The KXIP skipper, who was dropped by Kohli late in the innings, scored an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls that was laced with 14 boundaries and seven sixes.
With his spectacular knock, Rahul surpassed Rishabh Pant (128 in 2018) to post the highest individual score by an Indian and a captain in IPL history.
It was a rather ordinary performance from RCB after the win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their tournament opener. For KXIP, the win came after a super over loss against Delhi Capitals.
RCB were in all sorts for trouble from the beginning of the run chase with Devdutt Padikkal (1) and Josh Philippe (0) returning back to the dug out in the first two overs.
After dropping two catches, Kohli, undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to run-chasing, failed with the bat managing just a run off five balls before he was caught off a Sheldon Cottrell delivery.
Opener Aaron Finch (20) was then joined in the middle by AB de Villiers (28). The duo looked dangerous, milking deliveries wherever possible. The two added 49-runs before the young Ravi Bishnoi broke the stand by getting rid of the Australian limited overs captain. Bishnoi (3/32) and Murugan Ashwin (3/21) dismissed Finch and de Villiers in quick succession with RCB reeling at 57 for five. Washington Sundar was the top scorer for RCB, hitting 30 off 27 deliveries.
Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers for KXIP, he picked three wickets giving away 21 runs. Bishnoi too claimed three wickets and was impressive once again. Cottrell (2/17), Mohammad Shami (1/14) and Glenn Maxwell (1/10) too bowled economical spells.
Earlier, Rahul also became the fastest Indian to reach 2000 IPL runs, reaching the milestone in his 60th innings. The stylish batsman clipped away a full length delivery to fine leg for four to break Sachin Tendulkar's record, who reached the milestone in 63 matches.
Opening the batting with Rahul, Mayank Agarwal (26) looked dangerous and shared a 57-run stand with his captain. However, with the introduction of spin into the attack in the seventh over, Yuzvendra Chahal (1/25) struck with the last ball, cleaning up Agarwal (26) with a delightful googly.
Nicholas Pooran (17) and Glenn Maxwell (5) once again failed to make an impact as Shivam Dube (2/33) accounted for the duo. Karun Nair pitched in with an eight-ball 15.
The pace troika of Umesh Yadav (0/35), Dale Steyn (0/57) and Navdeep Saini (0/37) had a torrid time as the KXIP skipper was on fire in his second game as captain. All players wore black armbands to honour Australian cricketer turned commentator Dean Jones, who died in Mumbai due to a cardiac arrest on Thursday. PTI
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