IPL 2018: KL Rahul hits fastest fifty in record-setting day as Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils

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KL Rahul hit the fastest fifty in IPL history on Sunday. Image: BCCI

Kings XI Punjab opened their IPL 2018 campaign in the perfect manner under new skipper Ravichandran Ashwin as they beat Delhi Daredevils by six wickets at Mohali on Sunday.

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Daredevils were restricted to 166-7 after some fine bowling by the home side before the hosts chased down the total with seven deliveries to spare.

Here, we look at the key talking points from an entertaining clash at Mohali.

MUJEEB UR RAHMAN CREATES HISTORY

When Afghanistan’s Mujeeb ur Rahman took the field for Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, IPL history was created. At 17 years and 11 days, the spinner became the youngest ever to play in the competition, beating the previous record held by Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Sarfraz Khan at 17 years and 177 days.

As if becoming the youngest IPL debutant wasn’t enough, Mujeeb proved why he is so highly rated by snaring up the wicket of the dangerous Colin Munro with his third delivery.

GAMBHIR MATCHES WARNER’S RECORD

Back at the franchise of his hometown, Gautam Gambhir started his new innings in the perfect fashion, slamming his 36th IPL half century to lead the way with the bat for Delhi Daredevils.

Despite the loss of early wickets, the left-handed looked in control as he found boundaries at regular intervals while milking the singles. He notched up his fifty in 36 balls, equalling David Warner’s IPL record of 36 half-centuries.

KL RAHUL SLAMS FASTEST IPL 50

KL Rahul started the chase for Kings XI Punjab like a man possessed. After facing three quiet deliveries from fast bowler Trent Boult , Rahul burst into life with a top-edged six. Slamming two sixes and three boundaries in the first two overs of the innings, the Kings XI Punjab batsman then gave Amit Mishra a hiding to remember.

Smashing the leg-spinner for two huge sixes and three boundaries off the first five deliveries, Rahul brought up the fastest  IPL fifty taking just 14 balls to reach to the mark. His innings was brought to an end in the fifth over by Boult but by that time the right-hander has caused enough damage to the Daredevils.

YUVRAJ’S STRUGGLES

That Yuvraj Singh’s powers are on the decline is no secret given how much of an afterthought he was during the IPL auction. On Sunday, Yuvraj had the perfect platform after Rahul’s explosive fifty had brought down the equation to almost run-a-ball.

Yuvraj started excellently, moving on to 10 off as many balls with the help of two hits to the boundary. Then, he went back into his shell and resembled the uncertain batsman India has become accustomed to for a couple of seasons.

After scoring two runs off the next nine deliveries, Yuvraj holed out to deep mid-wicket while trying to take on Rahul Tewatia in an attempt to relieve the pressure. The left-hander’s 12 runs came off 22 deliveries in Kings XI’s otherwise impressive batting showing.

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IPL 2018: Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin shows off his leg-spin skills against Delhi Daredevils

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Ashwin brought out his latest variation. Image - KXIP/Twtiter

Staying true to his word, Ravichandran Ashwin brought out the newest variation in his arsenal in Kings XI Punjab’s IPL opener against the Delhi Daredevils.

The Kings XI skipper had talked about adding leg-spin to his bowling ahead of the IPL.

The India off-spinner has seen himself and Ravindra Jadeja replaced by wrist-spinners in the team’s limited-overs setup with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal establishing themselves as the preferred options.

With wrist-spinners currently the flavor in international cricket, Ashwin had indicated that he would be trying out some leg-spin in the IPL as he seeks to keep himself on top of the international game.

While bowled off-spin in the opening over for his side on Sunday, Ashwin chose to keep his leg-spinner a secret until his second of the day.

Bowling outside the power-play in his second over, Ashwin bowled leg-spin that was reminiscent of Anil Kumble at his peak. The off-spinner beat Daredevils batsman Vijay Shankar all ends up with sharp turn and bounce.

He attempted that delivery three times in the over although one slid down the leg side for a wide.

The 31-year-old did not go overboard with his newest variation, using them sparingly but effectively as he ended up with excellent figures of 1-23 from his four overs to help restrict the Daredevils to 166-7 in their 20 overs.

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IPL 2018: Kings XI Punjab batsman KL Rahul hits fastest fifty in tournament's history

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KL Rahul was on fire against Delhi Daredevils. Image: BCCI.

Kings XI Punjab opener KL Rahul smashed the fastest fifty in IPL history during his team’s opening campaign of the tournament against Delhi Daredevils.

Chasing 167 in Mohali, Rahul waited for three balls before launching into the Daredevils attack. He first took on seamer Trent Boult, hitting him for a six and then two boundaries. In the next over against Mohammed Shami, Rahul hit a six and a boundary before taking leg-spinner Amit Mishra, going four, six, six, four and four to reach his fifty.

Hit shots against Mishra were particularly special as the leg-spinner is the second highest wicket taker in IPL history. Rahul first six off Mishra was a slap off the back foot over long off followed by a sweep which he executed despite slipping awkwardly.

Rahul broke the record set by Yusuf Pathan who hit a 15-ball fifty in 2014. He was finally dismissed for 51 of 16 balls with six boundaries and four sixes.

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