There were question marks regarding KL Rahul’s ability as the captain of Kings XI Punjab, but the skipper on Thursday showed the knack for leading a team with a massive century and backed that up with some right-on-the spot bowling decisions, leading to RCB top-order collapse. RCB couldn't recover from the collapse and eventually ended up losing the match by 97 runs.
At the other end, the worst performer of the day certainly was team India and RCB skipper Virat Kohli who endured a horrendous day on the field. Kohli dropped two of the easiest catches of his life and that too of the hero of the match Rahul, who was not out on 83 and 90 when both the catches were dropped on the deep cover and mid-off respectively. This allowed the wicket-keeper to score a magnificent century as he went after RCB bowlers in the death overs to take RCB to 206/3 at the end of 20th over.
The dropped catches, however, take nothing away from the KXIP captain-cum opener who took 62 balls to struck his second IPL century. He ended the ininngs scoring 132 in just 69 balls while slamming seven sixes and seven boundaries. The 132 also made him the highest-scoring captain knocks in the history of IPL.
Earlier KL Rahul has announced his arrival in the Indian Premier League 2020 season with his 17th career half-century as his side Kings XI Punjab took on Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Thursday.
Rahul took 36 balls to reach the mark and slammed seven boundaries and a huge six over the cover before reaching the milestone.
It has also been a day of double delight for the KXIP skipper as he also becomes the fastest Indian to reach 2000 mark in IPL, surpassing none other than the great Sachin Tendulkar. Rahul took just 59 innings to reach the feat.
While rest of the three KXIP batsman to bat on the day — Nicholas Pooran (17 off 18), Glenn Maxwell (5 off 6) and Karun Nair (15 off 8) — did nothing exceptional apart from playing second fiddles to the main attraction of the day who seemed like a man on a mission.
RCB’s bowling frailties were severy exposed as big guns like Dale Steyn (57/0), Navdeep Saini (37/0) and Umesh Yadav (35/0 in three overs) went for plenty. The only standout bowler was youngster Shivam Dube, who scalped two wickets. Yuzvendra (25/1) did pick one, but given his last-match exploits against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rahul smartly and cautiously oversaw his four-over quota.
Later in the second innings, RCB’s nightmare continued as the team lost its first three wickets, including skipper Kohli, inside the first three overs itself with just four runs on board. The three batsmen managed just 2 runs between themselves as last-match star Devdutt Padikkal was the first to go. The young left-hander (1 off 2), visibly under the pressure of the tall ask, miscued a moving delivery straight into the hands of Ravi Bishnoi.
The same combination worked again when skipper Kohli (1 off 5) was next to follows when Bishnoi caught him inside the 30-yard circle on short long-on. But before that Josh Phillipe, who was promoted up the order at no.3, was caught lbw by Mohammed Shami in the second over.
Meanwhile, Bishnoi wasn’t done for the night as five overs later he clean bowled a set Aaron Finch (20 off 21) before he could unleash himself in a steady 49-run partnership off 34 balls with AB de Villiers.
The South African (28 off 18) too followed him to the dugout quickly as he shot Murugan Ashwin’s lofted delivery into the hands of Sarfaraz Khan in the outfield, leaving KXIP reeling at 60/5 with 11 overs to go.
Wickets further kept tumbling at regular intervals with the tailenders managing 49 runs before bundling out for 109 in 17 overs. Bishnoi was the pick among the bowlers as he picked three wickets for while Cottrell scalped two big wickets. Murugan Ashwin also picked three.