IPL 2019: KL Rahul's record fifty helps KXIP end season on a high against CSK

Ajit Vijaykumar 18:36 05/05/2019
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K L Rahul hit a 19-ball fifty against Chennai. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

For Kings XI Punjab, it was about finishing on a high and maybe even spoiling the playoff scenario for Chennai Super Kings by completing a thumping win. As it turned out, Punjab defeated Chennai by six wickets with two overs to spare, thanks to a 19-ball fifty from opener KL Rahul on Sunday.

With no real pressure, it was Punjab who came up with the goods as they chased down Chennai’s total of 170-5 with ease. Rahul was the main architect of the win, hitting seven fours and five sixes during his 36-ball 71.

Despite the defeat, Chennai ended up on 18 points and a net run rate of .131, which means they will play the first IPL 2019 Qualifier.

Veterans get going for Chennai

The Super Kings will be pleased with the efforts of Faf du Plessis (96 off 55 balls) and Suresh Raina (53 off 38). It was their effort which put some impetus in the innings that was expertly controlled by Punjab bowlers. Pacers Mohammed Shami (2-17 from three overs) and Sam Curran (3-35) were on top of their game while skipper Ravi Ashwin was at his miserly best, giving away just 23 runs from his four overs.

While the 120-run stand between Faf and Raina was great news for Chennai heading into the playoffs, the scoring rate of the likes of Shane Watson (7 off 11 balls) and MS Dhoni (10 off 12) left a lot to be desired. A total of 170-5 was a bit anticlimactic  given a massive century stand at the top of the order.

Rahul goes on a rampage

Punjab opener KL Rahul loves the Mohali ground. He recorded the fastest fifty in the history of IPL at the venue – off 14 balls against Delhi last year. At the same venue a year later, Rahul went after Chennai’s seasoned attack, taking particular liking to Harbhajan Singh who he smashed for 24 runs in the fourth over of the chase to race to 52 off just 19 balls. It was the third fastest fifty of IPL 2019 and the fastest-ever scored against Chennai.

While Rahul was going hammer and tongs, Chris Gayle wasn’t even in double figures. The scoreboard kept ticking over as Punjab reached exactly 100 in 10 overs.

Bhajji hits back

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan was smashed for 41 runs in his first two overs but came back to dismiss both Rahul and Gayle off successive deliveries in the 11th over. In his last over, the offie had Mayank Agarwal caught at deep square leg to bring some hope back in the Chennai camp as KXIP were 126-3 with 45 needed from seven overs.

However, in-form Nicholas Pooran made 36 off 22 balls to put the result beyond any doubt.

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