The second match of the IPL 2018 saw Kings XI Punjab locking horns with the Delhi Daredevils in Mohali, where the former registered a comprehensive 6-wicket victory.
KXIP opener KL Rahul proved the worth of his 11 crore bid by hitting a breathtaking 14-ball fifty – the fastest in the history of IPL. Rahul got dismissed for 16-ball 51 (6 fours and 4 sixes), but his effort was more than enough to dent the Daredevils as Punjab chased down the target with 7 balls to spare.
Speaking to Chris Gayle after the match for IPL official website, Rahul said he was in that zone and didn’t want to overthink.
“I was in that zone which every batsman wants to be in. Today 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.
Before being roped in by KXIP, Rahul had played two seasons of IPL with the Royal Challengers Bangalore wherein he had shared the dressing room with modern-day greats like Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
Crediting Gayle for his inputs during the time they’ve spent together, Rahul added: “I have realized over the years playing with you (while being part of the RCB squad),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 and then body reacts. That’s all I was trying to do and I’m really happy that it came off today.”
Gayle also hailed the 25-year-old Rahul while analyzing the knock.
“It was fantastic! Was it your plan to execute from the first over?You put the bowlers on the back-foot in the first over and then the momentum was actually with you and then you got to be very explosive and it was very good to see,” the swashbuckling Caribbean asked Rahul.
Talking about his mindset throughout the innings, KL Rahul elaborated: “I didn’t plan to play this innings that way. I just went there, I wanted to play couple of balls in. But the first ball (Trent) Boult bowled, he tried to swing it in, but there was no swing so I knew that the ball was going to come straight and I just wanted to take him on straight away. I knew that once the ball gets older it is going to get harder for the batsmen batting down the order. So my plan was to make sure that the new ball goes for lot of runs so that the batsmen batting after me will find it easier and they don’t have a bigger asking rate. So that was the plan for me to strike hard early.”
The Punjab-based franchise will now take on RCB in their next encounter on Friday (April 13). Speaking about the upcoming showdown, Rahul said: “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.”
“So Bangalore we are coming for you, Okay! RCB, we are coming, beware! KL Rahul – and he did entertain us today and he is going do so many more times,” Gayle concluded having issued a warning for RCB.