IPL 2021: Rahul cracks unbeaten 91 as Punjab Kings post 179-5
The captain and opener biffs seven boundaries and five sixes
Skipper KL Rahul conjured his fourth half-century of the season to guide the Punjab Kings to a competitive total against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 26 of the IPL on Friday night.
The opener cracked an unbeaten 91 from 57 deliveries with seven boundaries and five sixes, his 25th IPL fifty, as the Punjab Kings posted 179-5 in Ahmedabad.
That saw the Bangalorean wrest the Orange Cap from Shikhar Dhawan of the Delhi Capitals.
West Indian Chris Gayle made a 24-ball 46 with six fours and two sixes.
KL Rahul got things rolling with a pulled six off medium pacer Mohammed Siraj in the second over. Rahul’s new opening partner Prabhsimran Singh then lofted a straight drive past Daniel Sams for a boundary in the third over. The youngster’s attempt to accelerate came undone as he was gobbled up by RCB skipper Virat Kohli at extra cover off Kyle Jamieson.
Chris Gayle, playing against former employers, got cracking with the ‘Universe Boss’ carting Jamieson for five boundaries as 20 runs came off that sixth over and the Punjab Kings reached 49 for one from the powerplay.
KL Rahul and Gayle forged together an 80-run partnership for the second wicket but the latter fell in sight of his first half century of the season and 31st in the IPL. The towering Jamaican edged a bouncer from Sams into the safe gloves of wicketkeeper AB de Villiers after making 46 from just 24 balls, studded with six boundaries and two sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal.
But it was not before the Punjab Kings had reached 90 for one in the first 10 overs. Gayle’s compatriot Nicholas Pooran’s poor run of form continued with the left-hander snapped up by Shahbaz Ahmed at backward point off Jamieson for a nought. It was his fourth duck of the tournament with him hitting double figures only once, against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous game, when he made 19.
Rahul and Harpreet Brar then added 61 runs from just 32 balls for the unbroken sixth wicket. Brar remained not out on 25 from 17 balls with two sixes and a boundary.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore made just one change with Shahbaz Ahmed replacing Washington Sundar.
The Punjab Kings, meanwhile, had three changes, one forced with opener Mayank Agarwal ruled out due to a niggle. Moises Henriques and Arshdeep Singh joined him on the sidelines, with Prabhsimran Singh, Riley Meredith and Harpreet Brar coming in.
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