Kings XI Punjab promised they would play an entertaining brand of cricket in VIVO IPL 2018, and they did so in their season opener. KL Rahul slammed the fastest half-century (50 off 14 balls) in IPL history as he led his team’s chase of 167 against the Delhi Daredevils in Mohali on Sunday evening. He blasted six boundaries and four sixes as he pushed the opposition on to the back-foot at the very beginning.
The opener though was unaware of his feat, and realized it only when Yuvraj Singh, after joining him in the middle said to him, “I was worried for a bit that you were going to break my 11-ball (sic. 12) fifty (record).”
“That was international, and this is T20 and that’s when I realized that maybe this is IPL and a fastest fifty. So yeah, I am happy!,” Rahul said later.
The man-of-the-moment shared about his time in the middle during a chat with none other than the man who has against his name the record for the fastest IPL century – Chris Gayle.
“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 while looking back at his knock in the company of Gayle.
Crediting the senior batsman for the experience shared in 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 was all praise for the young Indian lad as they discussed 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 explosive batsman asked Rahul.
Recollecting what was going through his mind, Rahul explained, “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.”
Gayle also pointed out to Rahul that he seemed unaware that he had reached the fifty-run mark. “Fastest fifty, you seemed a bit surprised when you saw everyone were clapping, like you didn’t realize that you actually reached fifty, but you hit the fastest fifty in the IPL history.That’s a great record and I think you will have many more to score in this format.”
“Thanks, Chris,” Rahul said in reply, further adding, “It is great to have records under your belt. Yes, I didn’t really realize that I had got a record, I had got to fifty because, like I said, I was just waiting for the ball to leave the bowler’s hand and strike it. So once I got there and everyone started clapping I realized I got to fifty,” Rahul explained his delayed reaction and acknowledgement on reaching his half-century.
After getting off to a winning start at home, KXIP head to Bengaluru and the duo – Gayle and Rahul– will be playing at their former IPL home ground.
Looking forward to that game, Rahulsaid, “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 warnedwhile signing off.