Kings XI Punjab had started their IPL 2018 campaign with a bang. They were placed at the second spot after the halfway stage, having won 5 out of their first 6 matches. However, things went downhill for them thereafter as they managed to claim only one win in their next 8 matches. KXIP eventually finished the season at No. 7 with 12 points from 14 games.
In contrast to his team, Punjab opener KL Rahul performed consistently throughout the season. The stylish right-hander finished the season as the third highest run-getter with 659 runs from 14 innings.
Speaking to kxip.in, Rahul recently reflected on his team’s performance and Ravichandran Ashwin’s leadership during the cash-rich event, saying: "Obviously, it was a bit up and down because of the results but, we had a good time together. The first half was obviously a great way to start the tournament. And unfortunate for us and the captain that the second half did not go our way. But, yeah it was a great learning and I am sure it was a great experience for him (Ashwin) as a captain."
"Handling a young team is never easy, but, I think he did a great job. He's given a lot of feedback to the players, what he thinks about where they can improve so these boys will definitely come back stronger, and his leadership would have helped a lot of players, a lot of bowlers, especially," he added.
Rahul, who has represented SRH and RCB in the past, was roped in by the Punjab-based franchise for a whopping price tag of INR 11 crores during IPL auction in January 2018. And the 26-year-old perfectly justified his lucrative bid.
Unlike his preceding franchises, Rahul opened the innings for KXIP and blasted his way to a fastest ever half-century in IPL in the very first match against the Delhi Daredevils. The swashbuckling right-hander smashed a breathtaking 16-ball 51 (6 fours and 4 sixes) to give KXIP a resounding start in the tournament.
When asked to pick his favourite moment from the personally successful campaign, Rahul rated the 14-ball 50 as his best.
"I think it's the first game when I got a 14-ball 50. It was absolutely unbelievable! I completely outdid myself there,” he remarked.
"I still am amazed that I got the fastest fifty in the IPL ever and it kind of set the tone for the reason of the season as well. I am grateful for a lot of things this season. I have made great friends along the way, great memories, there has been a lot of learning," KL Rahul concluded.