KL Rahul hit his 13th Indian Premier League (IPL) fifty on Monday to help Kings XI Punjab gun down a 151-run target in a last over thriller against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali, reported IndiaToday.
Kings XI Punjab vaulted into the top-four after the six-wicket win at home. This was also KXIP’s seventh straight win at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, which has been their fortress over the last two seasons of IPL.
Kings XI Punjab were cruising towards the 151-run target, needing 19 runs from their last 18 balls. However, Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Sandeep Sharma gave his team a window of opportunity by removing a well-set Mayank Agarwal and the explosive David Miller in the same over.
Siddharth Kaul, who had conceded 37 iin his first three overs, made a fine comeback to give away only five runs in the penultimate over. Needing 11 in the last over, Rahul kept his nerves and hit Mohammad Nabi for a boundary and helped Punjab cross the finish line.
Rahul’s knock oozed class as he kept the scoreboard moving without taking a lot of risks on what seemed to be a sluggish pitch. The India opener remained unbeaten on 71, his third fifty-plus score in IPL 2019.
Rahul showcased why he is rated as one of the best going around as he used the crease, cutting, pulling and driving the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers who were struggling a bit because of the late evening dew in Mohali.
Rahul was given able support by his Karnataka and India teammate Mayank Agarwal as the duo added 114 runs from just 84 balls for the second wicket. Kings XI Punjab’s chase of 151 was jolted early as Sunrisers’ star leg-spinner Rashid Khan removed Chris Gayle early.
Chris Gayle had smashed 104 off just 63 balls in IPL 2018 when Sunrisers visited Mohali. However, there was no Gayle show at the PCA Stadium on Monday as Rashid, who had leaked 55 in four overs last year, got Gayle in his first over.
However, Rahul and Mayank took control of the chase and used all their experience to bat Sunrisers Hyderabad out of the contest. Agarwal had a lucky escape when he was batting on 40 as Yusuf Pathan dropped a sitter to hand the Kings XI batsman a reprieve when Kings XI were needing 37 from 27 balls.
Shortly after the drop, Mayank Agarwal tonked Siddharth Kaul, who was ordinary on the evening, for a huge six to bring up his second IPL 2019 fifty.