Rahul smashed a fifty off just 14 deliveries while opening for the Punjab franchise to take the game way from Delhi Daredevils in the blink of an eye.
The opener was actually unaware that he had broken the IPL record as he reached his fifty and it was veteran Yuvraj Singh who reminded him of the feat he had achieved when he walked out to the middle.
The half-centurion was joined by his Kings XI team-mate Gayle for a chat as they looked back on his swashbuckling innings after the game.
“I was in that zone which every batsman wants to be in. It was one such day and I was hitting the ball sweetly. So I just didn’t want to overthink. I was just waiting for the ball to leave the bowler’s hand and then react,” Rahul said.
— K L Rahul (@klrahul11) April 9, 2018
Both Rahul and Gayle have previously been a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise and the former has credited the Jamaican for the fastest IPL fifty.
“I have realised over the years playing with you (with Gayle),and I have spoken to you over the last couple of years about how to pace the innings and you always keep telling about getting into good positions. That’s all I was trying to do and I’m really happy that it came off today,” Rahul told Gayle.
The duo are in line to face their former employers next as Kings XI Punjab travel to Bengaluru to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday, April 13.
While it will be an emotional return to Bangalore for the pair, they have gave an early warning to Virat Kohli’s men.
“We have entertained people around the country over the years and going back home feels good, feels a bit emotional to be playing against RCB. But at the end of the day it is a game. We want to go there and play our best cricket and hopefully end up on the winning side again,” Rahul said about the upcoming clash.
Gayle was even more ominous in his warning, saying: “So Bangalore we are coming for you! RCB, we are coming, beware! KL Rahul – and he did entertain us today and he is going do so many more times.”
Making a return to the league after a two-year suspension, the MS Dhoni-led franchise will play in front of their home fans for the first time since 2015 after beating the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders started their campaign in style by beating favourites Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
If there were question marks over CSK’s ageing outfit going into the tournament, then all of those negatives were removed as Dwayne Bravo’s sublime 68 (30) powered them to victory against a star-studded Bangalore side. Bravo and Shane Watson’s all-round abilities have given Dhoni’s side balance and composure therefore it would be foolish to write them off yet. They have however, lost the services of middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav who has been ruled out for the rest of the IPL with a hamstring injury.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders will be relying on their strong spin contingent to lead the way once again. With Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla in their ranks, Dinesh Karthik’s men will go into the match with confidence given how well spinners have done over the years at Chennai.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
CSK pacer Mark Wood was taken for plenty of runs after a promising start against Mumbai Indians. It will be interesting to see if Dhoni sticks with the Englishman for Tuesday’s clash or if he opts to go with South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi who impressed during India’s tour of the rainbow nation earlier this year.
Ravindra Jadeja bowled just the one over in the opening clash and will be looking to make a greater contribution for CSK with both bat and ball.
For KKR, Australia’s Chris Lynn will be itching for a solid display after a quiet outing in the win over Bangalore. The left-handed opener is one of the most destructive batsmen in the format and if he gets going on Tuesday, it could be raining sixes at the MA Chidambaram stadium.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Mark Wood.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders made the perfect start to life under the captaincy of Dinesh Karthik as they defeated a strong Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit by four wickets at the Eden Gardens on Sunday night.
Bangalore batted first and made 176-7, thanks mainly to a fine 44 off 23 balls from AB de Villiers who hit five sixes. Brendon McCullum had started things off for the Royal Challengers but Knight Riders’ spinners kept the hosts in the match.
Then in the chase, Sunil Narine blazed 50 runs off just 19 balls to go with his 1-30 to ensure a winning start for the Knight Riders.
Here are the talking points from Kolkata’s win in the IPL on Sunday.
McCULLUM TEES OFF
Kiwi legend Brendon McCullum might not be as consistent as he once was but he is still good enough to punish anything less than the absolute best. In the very first over bowled by Vinay Kumar, McCullum deposited three ‘nothing balls’ from the seamer for two fours and a six. That got the ball rolling as McCullum reached 43 off 27 balls.
Sunil Narine becomes first player to score half century less than 17 balls twice in IPL history and both came against RCB....— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) April 8, 2018
SPINNERS PULL THINGS BACK
The Kolkata spinners were brilliant, keeping heavy hitters in McCullum and Virat Kohli relatively quiet. McCullum had trouble reading both Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla. Kohli could only manage 31 off 33 balls. Narine rattled the stump of McCullum before off-spinner Nitish Rana got the wickets of a dangerous looking De Villiers (44) and Kohli off successive deliveries. At 127-4 in the 15th over, the wind had been knocked out of Bangalore’s sails.
NARINE BRILLIANT WITH THE BAT AS WELL
West Indies spinner Narine’s bowling action was reported during the PSL. But not only did he put that behind him to bowl a superb spell of 1-30, he led the Kolkata charge in his now familiar role as opener by cracking 50 off 19 balls. His knock included four boundaries and five sixes. The Knight Riders, who were worried about the form and fitness of Narine and Andre Russell, now must be smiling from ear to ear.
CAPTAIN KARTHIK KEEPS HIS COOL
A tricky chase at home against Virat Kohli’s team is not an easy assignment first up. When Kolkata lost half their side at 146 chasing 178, the match could have gone either way. But Karthik was still there. After his heroics in the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka, DK looks a different man and he was there until the end as Kolkata won by four wickets.